Serena Ventures Backs Ugandan Lending Fintech Startup


  • Y Combinator-backed Numida has raised $12.3 million in debt and equity funding. 
  • The fintech startup, founded in 2015, provides loans to small and medium-sized businesses in Uganda. 
  • The startup’s new funding round was led by Serena Williams’ Serena Ventures. 

Numida, a Ugandan fintech that offers credit to small businesses, has raised $12.3 million in new funding.

The startup, which was founded by three Canadian Y Combinator graduates in 2015, wants to expand access to working capital for businesses across Africa. Numida believes there are 20 million small and micro businesses lacking working capital, an opportunity it values at around $5 billion.

“Our initial process was simple: How do we provide the best form of working capital to excluded people?” Mina Shahid, Numida’s CEO and cofounder told Insider.

“It’s important because these people have been forgotten by traditional financial services and the major challenge for economic development is financing for businesses.”

Shahid cofounded the business alongside Catherine Denis and Ben Best. The trio worked in Sub-Saharan Africa for a number of years prior to setting up Numida. Much of the challenge comes from a lack of a centralized credit scoring system but also a general lack of documentation with transactions often done in cash, they said.

Numida’s platform offers loans of between $100 to $5,000 via its mobile app with its proprietary tech used to make credit scoring decisions.

“It’s been a fascinating experience building a tech product for people who have never used a computer before,” Shahid said. “Everyone can understand an interface in the valley but we’ve had to unlearn what a user interface is and have spent a lot of time on improving our UX and customer journey.”

Serena Williams’ fund Serena Ventures is leading a $7.3 million portion of equity funding alongside Breega, 4Di Capital, Launch Africa, Soma Capital,  Y Combinator, and MFS Africa. The rest of the funding comes in the form of $5 million in debt from Lendable Asset Management. 

Numida claims to have advanced more than $20 million in funding since April 2021 and is growing its team to cater for future growth. The company’s teams are split between Kampala, Uganda, and various remote locations on the west coast of the US. Funding will go towards further hiring on Numida’s product development team in Uganda alongside a CFO and potentially a head of credit risk, Shahid said. 

Further expansion into another African market like Nigeria, Ghana, Egyptian, or Kenya is also under consideration. 

Check out Numida’s 10-slide pitch deck below: 


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