Unique: Kippa Cofounder Duke Ekezie exits after company banking shutdown, embarks on new enterprise

Unique: Kippa Cofounder Duke Ekezie exits after company banking shutdown, embarks on new enterprise

Duke Ekezie, the co-founder and President of Kippa, the fintech startup backed by Goal International, left the corporate after Kippa Pay, the company banking product he was accountable for, was shut down.

Duke had been absent on the corporate’s Slack channel for months, two ex-employees stated. When TechCabal requested feedback in December 2023, Duke stated he couldn’t “verify or deny his exit.”

The Kippa cofounder has now confirmed his exit from the corporate and has begun engaged on a distinct enterprise he declined to share specifics. 

“I’m nonetheless very concerned in Kippa as I’ve been offering advisory providers to [Kennedy]  who’s first my brother earlier than my co-founder,” Duke informed  TechCabal on a name. 

He stays a shareholder and co-founder in Kippa regardless that he’s presently engaged on a distinct enterprise. He additionally declined to touch upon the 2022 exit of Uche Jepthat, the CTO and third cofounder. 

Uche Jepthat left Kippa in November 2022—two months after the startup introduced that it had raised $8.2 million in a second spherical of funding, per his LinkedIn profile. He has co-founded one other enterprise— Earna, which affords advantages and wellness plans to workers.

Transferring on from company banking and Kippa

“Within the final quarter of 2023, after [Kennedy and I] determined to exit the company banking enterprise attributable to its unprofitability, I handed over the day-to-day operations of Kippa to [Kennedy], ” stated Duke. 

Duke coordinated the corporate’s development, advertising and marketing and technique groups and led Kippa Pay, the now-divested company banking enterprise, stated two individuals who labored with him on the time. 

In October, the Kippa Pay enterprise was shut down, and 40 employees who labored on the product have been laid off. 

After closing the company banking enterprise, Duke and Kennedy Ekezie returned to the drafting board. “We went again to speak to SMEs and huge companies to see what issues they’d that we may remedy. Two issues stood out for us.”

“One of many issues aligned with my long-term objectives and ambitions, and the opposite aligned with Kennedy’s. So we now have determined to unravel these issues individually,” Duke informed TechCabal.

He declined to share specifics of the issue he’s trying to remedy together with his new enterprise.

Kippa’s pivot to edtech 

On Wednesday, TechCabal completely reported that Kippa is pivoting to edtech with an AI-powered platform that creates programs and teaches them to learners by way of messaging apps. 

It’s a inventive pivot, contemplating the place the enterprise started.

Two years earlier than beginning Kippa, Kennedy and Duke spent a yr in Beijing supporting TikTok’s enlargement into Africa. Alongside Jephthah Uche, they launched the finance administration platform in June 2021 after touring to Lagos, Uyo, Owerri, and Aba—Nigeria’s bustling business facilities—to satisfy small companies and study what issues they might remedy for them. 

Upon studying that handbook reconciliation of enterprise transactions was a serious ache level for these companies, they got here up with an app that automates accounting processes and referred to as it Kippa— presumably a wordplay on the phrase “bookkeeper.” 

They finally raised about $11.6 million throughout two rounds from VC corporations like Goodwater Capital, Goal International, TEN13 VC, Rocketship VC, Saison Capital, Crestone VC, VentureSouq, Horizon Companions and Vibe Capital, Entrée Capital, Alter International and Rally Cap Enterprise. 

Angel traders throughout these rounds included Babs Ogundeyi, Kuda CEO; Sriram Krishnan, an investor in Khatabook; Raffael Johnen, Auxmoney CEO; Chris Bouwer; Kyane Kassiri; Edward Suh of Goodwater Capital; and Sajid Rahman additionally funded the startup.

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