Payhippo Raises $1m in Pre-seed Funding

Zach Bijesse
3 min readJul 1, 2021

Payhippo Raises $1m in Pre-seed Funding to Step Up Where Banks Aren’t Servicing — Loans to Small Businesses

Hello world!

Payhippo provides loans to small businesses in Africa in under 3 hours.

Payhippo’s $1m pre-seed funding round is composed of Africa tech investors such as Ventures Platform, Future Africa, Launch Africa, Sherpa Ventures, and DFS Lab. International investors Hustle Fund and Mercy Corps Ventures also invested.

Payhippo had prior Friends and Family backing from notable Nigerian angel investors and from early stage venture builder — Aidi Ventures.

Capital is Scarce for Small Businesses in Africa

“Small businesses are at the core of Africa’s economic growth and we are thrilled to partner with Zach, Chioma & Uche as they build Payhippo. They are essentially bridging the $158B SME financing gap.” commented Kola Aina — General Partner, Ventures Platform Fund.

The market size for SME lending in Nigeria is $46B. And Payhippo’s founders have a personal connection to this market opportunity.

“I helped run my family’s business in Nigeria and I know how tough financing can be for SMEs in Nigeria. That’s why I went to work in microfinance policy. But I saw that there still that there was still such a big need for SMEs in Nigeria and the continent.” Chioma Okotcha, Payhippo Cofounder and COO

Seamless Financing

Most of these businesses are creditworthy, but traditional banks and lenders don’t lend to them because there are no credit scores and collateral requirements are too high.

That’s why Payhippo assesses businesses, builds their Payhippo Scores, and provides financing to them.

“I am proud of our platform. There are endless issues that Nigerian SMEs experience with financing but we’ve been taking it one step at a time. I talk to our borrowers every day to get product feedback. Our borrowers tell us that our loans are more seamless than anything else they have seen in the market.” Uche Nnadi, Payhippo Cofounder and CTO.

Small businesses hear about Payhippo through our direct outreach and then sign up to our platform via Then we assess cash flow and business owner data to determine what size loan is right for them. Most importantly, business owners build a Payhippo score to access up to 3x the amount of financing over time.

Fast Traction

While growing revenue 25% month on month, Payhippo has had a 97% repayment rate despite since January 2020.

Since we started in January of 2020, Payhippo has disbursed over 2,600 loans to businesses. These are the community grocery stores or small retail shops that are part of the critical infrastructure of their communities, but are left outside of the traditional financial system.

“Payhippo’s execution has been phenomenal and we are excited to support the impact they will create across the chronically underserved SME funding landscape in the coming years.” Said Mr. Aina.

With Africa’s most experienced tech investors, international fintech capabilities, and local backing in Nigeria, Payhippo will use the preseed funds to hire more engineers and a Head of Finance to keep up with the current growth.

The Team

Our 3 co-founders have worked together before Payhippo, have founding experience, and have the lending domain expertise to best service SMEs in Africa.

  • Chioma Okotcha (COO) worked in microfinance policy, ran her family’s SME in Nigeria, and helped build the international NGO Teach For Nigeria across multiple states in the country.
  • Uche Nnadi (CTO) was a full stack engineer at consumer lending fintech Earnest and has been mentoring Nigerian engineers for 5 years.
  • Zach Bijesse (CEO) worked at Lidya, Africa’s most well known SME lender. He saw that fintech SME lending had a gap of providing same-day financing when the businesses need the capital.

Thank you for reading and your support.

Please retweet and repost this so we can continue to build support in the Payhippo mission.

Payhippo Cofounders

Chioma, Uche, and Zach