Proparco today announced a US$3m equity investment in JUMO, which is an emerging market technology start-up offering unbanked or under-banked people access to financial services via their mobile phones. JUMO provides an innovative platform and suite of products that promote financial inclusion.
JUMO : an innovative, responsible business model for mobile financial services
JUMO helps to provide loans and savings-products to customers through mobile phone networks. The company has developed a credit-scoring algorithm which helps customers to unlock the value of their digital footprints by providing an accurate estimation of their creditworthiness, helping them to access finance at a very low cost due to the company’s efficient, large-scale platform approach.
In 2017 alone, the start-up granted 12.2 million loans to customers. It currently operates in Africa (Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia and Ghana) and recently launched its first activities in Asia (Pakistan).
JUMO takes Client Protection Principles very seriously. It set up an Ethics Committee that independently assesses compliance with best practices. JUMO has also worked with organisations such as The Smart Campaign to adapt client protection standards for digital financial services, especially focusing on data confidentiality aspects. In 2017, the MasterCard Foundation recognised Jumo as the most client-centric financial services company, working with low-income customers in emerging markets.
Promoting financial inclusion on a large scale
A large proportion of Jumo’s current customers have very low incomes: for example, 80 % of the company’s Tanzanian customers live on less than four dollars a day. Many are accessing financial products for the first time thanks to the company: for example, 81 % of the company’s Tanzanian customers and 77 % of its Zambian customers say they have never taken out a formal loan before.
Mobile-phone-enabled financial services go some way to help meet the shortage of traditional banking solutions, which are often expensive and unsuited to the needs of a large proportion of people in emerging markets. Proparco is deploying its US$3m investment as a way to partner JUMO’s development and help grow the mobile loan sector in support of low-income populations, especially informal micro-entrepreneurs who are frequently shut out of the formal banking system.
In time, this investment will help improve people’s lives, especially since at least two in three customers in all of JUMO’s markets are small or micro-entrepreneurs. Borrowers use their loans to invest in their businesses and cover emergencies and other expenses. This project will help to financially empower these customers. Lastly, the project will help create and maintain jobs directly within JUMO, and indirectly in the informal private sector by supporting jobs for entrepreneurs and those they employ, numbering in the millions.
“This investment in JUMO – our first investment in a FinTech company – is a natural extension of our action to promote financial inclusion by focusing on microfinance organisations, loans for SMEs – and now mobile technology. This project harnesses mobile phone technology to reach much larger numbers of people in a much wider area.”
“We have proven our business model and are now gearing up for the next phase of building the largest-scale and lowest-cost platform delivering high-quality financial services to emerging markets. With Proparco, we have an investor who understands the complexity of our markets and is committed to the qualitative imperatives of our mission such as customer protection and transparency, so we are very excited about this partnership.”
For Andrew Watkins-Ball, Founder and CEO of JUMO – LinKedin