- Pastel, a Nigerian startup, has raised a $5.5 million seed to expand its product offerings.
- TLcom Capital led the round. Other participating VCs include Global Founders Capital (GFC), Golden Palm Investments, DFS Labs, Ulu Ventures, Plug and Play Ventures, and Soma Capital.
- Pastel, formerly Sabi Cash, was founded in 2021 by Abuzar Royesh, Olamide Oladeji, and Izunna Okonkwo. It’s a Nigerian bookkeeping and digital platform for merchants which helps small businesses digitally streamline processes and save money.
- In 2021, the startup raised $620,000 pre-seed from some of its existing investors. The new round sums its entire funding up to $6.1 million to date.
Pastel's product offerings
Unlike similar platforms, which have aggregated several features into a single app, Pastel took a different approach and created standalone products like Quick Receipt and Pastel Financing.
Pastel’s flagship product, Sabi, is a digital bookkeeping app that enables small businesses to monitor and manage their transactions and customers, gain insights into their cash flows, issue receipts, and effectively manage customers who owe them.
With over 60,000 active merchant users, the Quick Receipt app provides businesses with simple invoicing and receipts tools.
However, the Swift Money app uses local Nigerian saving groups, ajo, to provide business financing.
Ajo, also known as esusu, is a popular Nigerian financial scheme where a group of people contribute money at varying intervals to a leader who keeps the money on their behalf.
Consequently, the platform works with established ajo leaders and their groups. Pastel's goal is not to replace these leaders but to provide them with tools to better track their groups' well-being and financing for members.
The company has only recently begun to generate revenue, which it does by charging interest and a small fee on these loans; it also has access to savings from its ajo groups to use as a float for loan financing.
Pastel users can sign up for any of the apps and access all of the company's other solutions using the same login. The startup claims to have signed up over 100,000 merchants by December 2021.
The funds will also be used to create more productivity and finance management features and tools for small businesses, like group savings, loans, and payments.