Bloom, a Sudan-based fintech that offers a high-yield savings account and adjacent digital banking services, has raised a $6.5 million seed round and is planning to expand to Ethiopia.
The news that was reported by TechCrunch added that the financing welcomed participation from fintech giant Visa, Y Combinator (YC), U.S.-based VCs Global, and UAE-based early-stage firm VentureSouq.
Bloom is the first Sudanese startup to get admitted into YC. The company, which was founded by Ahmed Ismail, Youcef Oudjidane, Khalid Keenan, and Abdigani Diriye in late 2021, offers fee-free accounts for users to save in dollars and buy and spend in Sudanese pounds.
“Our product is live in Sudan. The plan is to scale in the country and then expand to other markets. We anticipate being in at least one market before the end of the year and a couple more early next year,” Ahmed Ismail, Bloom CEO, told TechCrunch.
Currencies in East Africa are volatile and depreciate by 15% to 20% per annum on average, and this is one of the biggest factors behind continuous price increases and wealth loss seen in East Africa.
Bloom was launched to help Sudanese individuals hedge against this rising devaluation. Bloom’s founders say this seed round will help their expansion plan across Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Zambia.
In Sudan, Bloom provides local and dollar cards and a feature where they can receive remittance free of charge from several countries globally, mainly where most of the Sudanese diaspora reside. Bloom makes revenue from interest on these deposits, the interchange, and other ancillary streams.
Ethiopia is amending its decade-old Payment System law, allowing foreign investors, for the first time, to set up business in Ethiopia as digital financial services providers.
Abebe Girmay, former Country Manager of Visa Ethiopia, has joined Bloom recently.