Seamfix gets $4.5m — its first institutional investment — from Alitheia for pan-African identity management solution

May 7, 2024
3 min read
Seamfix senior leadership

More than 850 million individuals globally lack any form of identification, resulting in their inability to access financial services, benefit from government assistance programmes, or get jobs. 

Most of these individuals reside in sub-Saharan Africa, where Seamfix, which provides identity creation, verification, and transaction accreditation solutions for large organisations and government agencies, operates primarily. 

Today, the company founded in 2007 by Chimezie Emewulu (Group CEO) and Chibuzor Onwurah is announcing a $4.5 million private equity investment from Alitheia IDF. The funding, which is its first institutional funding, will aid its expansion into South Africa, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, and Ethiopia. 

Emewulu and Onwurah first met as students at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and worked together on several projects. After graduation, they set up Seamfix to provide technology solutions for businesses in Nigeria. 

One of their early projects involved providing an online testing platform for universities in Nigeria, and it provided them with inspiration for Seamfix’s current version. After watching students get impersonated during examinations, they built a biometric capturing system to stop it. 

Over the next few years, they worked with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) telecommunications providers such as Airtel (then called Zain) and MTN Nigeria to provide identity verification solutions during customer onboarding. 

The company has since worked with companies such as Interswitch, Glo, 9 Mobile, United Bank for Africa, Interswitch, and Union Bank, with footprints in Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia, Sudan, and Guinea-Bissau. 

“We are now at a point where our focus is no longer just Nigeria,” Emewulu told Techpoint Africa over a call. “Our focus is Africa; we want to aggregate all 54 countries in Africa; we want to get all the identity databases aggregated on one common API platform. What we are doing now is enabling a pan-African KYC switch that involves identity verification, background checks, and so many other services like that,” he added. 

Shedding more light on Seamfix’s pan-African KYC switch, Emewulu explains that the goal is to provide a central hub for identity management in Africa to power trade within the region and with Africans. Using it, governments, corporate organisations, and individuals can verify the identities of entities it transacts with. 

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“Our focus is enabling trust in the way we work, live, and learn. Getting trusted people to have trusted transactions with each other,” he noted. 

In addition to capturing and verifying identities, Seamfix provides a certification portal currently being used by the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and the Enugu State University of Technology to issue transcripts, a manual process for most of Nigeria’s tertiary institutions. According to Emewulu, the former has seen a 2,000% growth in internally generated revenue since implementing the solution. 

In a statement, Tokunboh Ishmael, Principal Partner at Alitheia IDF, pointed out that digital IDs are key to accessing opportunities today and could unlock up to 70% of a country’s economic potential. Ishmael will join the Seamfix board along with Frank Atube, Chief Operating Officer at Seamfix. 

“With this investment, Alitheia IDF is working with Seamfix to amplify its work in enabling millions of women to participate in the African economy and reach their full potential by providing crucial identification services and empowering businesses across the continent to scale,” Ishmael said. 

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Accidental writer, covering Africa's startup landscape and its heroes. Find me on Twitter @chigo_nwokoma.
Accidental writer, covering Africa's startup landscape and its heroes. Find me on Twitter @chigo_nwokoma.
Accidental writer, covering Africa's startup landscape and its heroes. Find me on Twitter @chigo_nwokoma.

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