South-African based Nomanini raised series-A funding from Netherlands based eVentures Africa Fund (eVA Fund) and Esther Dyson. The funds will enable Nomanini to roll out its proprietary, cloud-enabled system in South Africa and, with eVA Fund’s established pan-African network, begin further pilots across Africa. By March, Nomanini will have facilitated over 1 million transactions in South Africa’s informal economy.
Nomanini CEO Vahid Monadjem started the company to bring the power of the mobile revolution to the communities that have the most to gain from it. This month Nomanini raised series-A funding from Netherlands based eVentures Africa Fund (eVA Fund) and Esther Dyson. The funds will enable Nomanini to roll out its proprietary, cloud-enabled system in South Africa and, with eVA Fund’s established pan-African network, begin further pilots across Africa. By March, Nomanini will have facilitated over 1 million transactions in South Africa’s informal economy.
Vincent Kouwenhoven of eVA Fund: “Nomanini fits with eVA Fund’s mandate to close the digital divide in Africa. Across Africa we see innovative local services being developed. They require a means to collect micro-payments to thrive in their markets. This is the vital problem that Nomanini solves.”
Esther Dyson of EDventure Holdings: “What excites me about Nomanini is that we are not just investing in devices and a business model, we are also investing in people. We are training our vendors so that they can become more productive businesspeople – and so that Nomanini can scale on the basis of a network of increasingly sophisticated resellers. That way we can grow rapidly – but without becoming a commodity service.”
Nomanini enables informal market entrepreneurs to earn income selling prepaid vouchers in their local communities. Share-taxi drivers, street vendors or informal retailers – local entrepreneurs – use Nomanini terminals to sell prepaid vouchers and earn on-going profit. The terminals are designed specifically for use in the informal markets. The potential is huge: South Africa alone has 150 000 share taxi drivers and over 1 million street vendors. The rest of Africa and other emerging markets present even greater opportunities many times larger.
Nomanini means “anytime” in Zulu. Nomanini’s portable, user-friendly terminals facilitate the sale of a broad range of prepaid products, in any place, at anytime. Nomanini makes electronic and financial services available to consumers in emerging markets. Nomanini recognises that prepaid vouchers, typically used in mobile telecommunications, can be used to provide access to other services such as electricity, insurance and savings plans. Nomanini has already started serving prepaid mobile airtime and is currently testing new prepaid electricity vouchers.
Nomanini’s progress to date shows that prepaid vouchers are a highly effective way to collect micro-payments for the provision of services in emerging markets. Vouchers reduce transaction friction for both the consumer and the vendor. Vendors want fast, easy transactions and consumers want convenience and availability. Due to difficulty in distributing vouchers in informal and rural markets, prices are inflated and consumers with the lowest income often end up paying the most for essential services such as electricity and telecommunications.
Nomanini has already launched in South Africa, with entrepreneurs earning by selling prepaid vouchers. In so doing, these entrepreneurs are keeping money in their communites. Some entrepreneurs have taken Nomanini terminals deep into rural areas, pulled by latent demand. Clearly local entrepreneurs have the best sense for local demand and with this funding in place, Nomanini will continue to support them.