Nigerian fintech Brass blames funding winter for buyer withdrawal delays

Nigerian fintech Brass blames funding winter for buyer withdrawal delays

Brass, a Nigerian fintech startup that gives enterprise banking providers to small enterprise house owners, has blamed persistent withdrawal delays on the funding atmosphere and a rise in its variety of prospects. 

“The funding winter and the financial state of affairs in Nigeria have an effect on the talents of firms of our sort to help many shoppers after a while,” mentioned Sola Akindolu, the corporate’s CEO.

Whereas Brass raised $2m in 2021, Akindolu acknowledged the costly nature of working a fintech startup.

“You’ll be able to say you need to disrupt banks; if you happen to elevate $1-2 million, you need to elevate $5-10 million in a number of years. Whether it is overdue and you haven’t, issues will get tough,” mentioned Akindolu. “You want entry to ridiculous capital.” 

Brass approached Nomba as a part of conversations round a fundraise, two sources mentioned. One highly-placed particular person mentioned the corporate additionally mentioned elevating debt financing and expects to shut funding in two weeks.

“It isn’t in any method new for fintechs to strategy and help each other behind the scenes,” Brass mentioned in response to questions on elevating cash from Nomba. “We’ve got been approached and supplied help too, even to competitors. And you may usually affirm that. And no, we didn’t strategy Nomba for fairness financing.”

Based in 2020 by Akindolu, Brass was usually cherished by its prospects till withdrawal delays started round October 2023, three individuals mentioned.

“I couldn’t pay my workers in Nigeria final month, and I additionally needed to pause my constructing venture as a result of I couldn’t purchase supplies,” mentioned Samuel, a Brass person who claimed he couldn’t switch funds for over a month. TechCabal noticed screenshots of his failed transactions. 

“I’ve over 10 million naira there and may’t even use my cash.” 

Mercy, one other Brass person, shared comparable complaints after she tried to withdraw cash from her account in December.

“Once I contacted Brass [about the transfer issues], I all the time acquired the identical response: “We’re engaged on it.“ She was finally capable of make withdrawals. 

Regardless of the widespread nature of those complaints—there have been social media callouts of the CEO—Akindolu insists that solely 80 companies have skilled these delays. “As soon as escalated, the decision doesn’t take over 24 hours,” Akindolu claimed. 

The corporate additionally says that it’s working exhausting to resolve the problems. 

Resolving buyer complaints

In February, Brass created a second Telegram channel to resolve person complaints, and screenshots confirmed that whereas buyer complaints had been acknowledged, they remained unsolved for weeks.  

The startup additionally modified the telephone variety of its buyer care hotline a number of occasions with out sharing it on social media. It compelled customers to share their complaints on X and Instagram, with no less than a number of individuals sharing their frustration on the firm’s poor communication. 

Akindolu disputes that characterisation. 

“I’m very accessible. Clients even name me on my telephone quantity to relay their complaints, and I attend to them as quickly as attainable,” Akindolu mentioned.

Employees cuts at Brass

On Monday morning, Akindolu shared in a thread on X that Brass would furlough an undisclosed variety of staff to chop prices. Impacted staff will proceed to entry “medical insurance protection and different advantages till we’re capable of carry them again within the following months,” Akindolu tweeted. 

“[Akindolu’s] communication with us on the matter was restricted to the scope of the submit he made on-line, an worker instructed TechCabal.

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