Okra: Story, Founders, Investors & Funding Rounds
Founded in June 2019 by Nigerians Fara Ashiru Jituboh and David Peterside, Okra casts itself as a motherboard for the continent’s 21st-century financial system.
Okra is a financial services and data aggregation company. They’ve built an API — the infrastructure that enables end-users individuals and corporations to connect their bank accounts directly to third-party applications. They are powering the connectivity layer between financial institutions, fintech companies, and consumers.
The Lagos-based API developer created a product that generates revenues from both payment startups and established financial institutions.
Okra designs and develops software. The Company offers a platform that allows users to connect bank accounts and financial data directly to third-party applications. Okra serves customers in Nigeria.
Okra offers several paid packages for those types of integrations and opens up the code to developers for its five product categories: authorization, balance, transactions, identity, and accounts.
The company’s infrastructure helps to securely connect financial accounts to the business applications and services as per requirement, enabling clients to have seamless access to financial information and payment infrastructure.
Additionally, the startup generates revenues through product fees and earns each time a user connects a bank account to a customer.
How it Works
You can instantly authenticate any of your customer’s bank accounts and enable access to user data and payment products.
Okra offers you access to the most extensive coverage of financial institutions across African banks and traditional.
On top of that, a thorough customer verification process helps lessen the likelihood of your product and service being used dishonestly.
With Okra, you can view your customers’ available and ledger balances in real-time, across accounts and inform your customers about low balances to provide clarity on payments that could fail due to that.
The balance can be used in combination with payments to confirm the funds exist before processing, therefore reducing failures.
Okra has got you covered if you want to look back for 3 months or 2 years. Historical transactional statements will give insights into the spending habits of your users.
You can also get notified of new transactions on the user’s account to make sure you have updated balance or spending information and refresh all for new transactions when you see new activity on the account or refresh periodically on a set schedule.
You can check your customer’s account balance before you initiate a payment, and capture payments seamlessly against any of your customer’s bank accounts without worrying about insufficient funds.
Also, you can enable customers to pay in a few clicks online, avoid error-prone manual processes, and benefit from higher conversion rates than cards.
When a customer does not have the full payment amount, debit partial funds periodically and enhance loan recovery.
You can be able to improve your onboarding churn by reducing your onboarding steps by integrating Okra Identity and reduce fraud by knowing exactly who your customers are by cross-verifying between bank data, selfies, address, geolocation, and more.
Additionally, you can return all information required for onboarding to your application from a single point on the Okra widget that can be used to personalize the UX.
The income sources are identified across all registered companies in Nigeria with growing coverage in South Africa and Kenya.
Therefore, you can receive 1 and 2-year projections with a range or confidence based on the financial history of each individual.
Okra also analyzes the income data across all financial accounts owned by the user to increase accuracy.
You can quickly create a link, and send it to your customers to collect your money. This means that there are no more manual invoices or external payment machines.
Okra is completely customizable hence you can configure the payment widget to match your brand and tailor the experience to your use case — one-time, recurring, and beyond.
Additionally, you can boost conversions by avoiding lengthy processes and the need to enter card details, enabling customers to pay online quickly.
You’ll use KYC requirements with ID validation, liveness checks, bank account verification, and location verification without adding more complexity to your onboarding and enhance your identity profile with our Selfie verification add-on to know exactly who your users are.
Therefore, you can skip many onboarding screens by collecting all identity data points in 1 simple step.
Both your users and their guarantors can have a shared liability to meet the demands of remittance on your app.
You can eliminate manual guarantors onboarding in your app by prompting your users to submit at least 3 guarantors during their account linking.
Okra can garnish the account of your user’s guarantors if the main user defaults in payment.
You can receive a breakdown of the channels used for debit transactions such as – cash, transfer, and POS (point of sale), and transactions are grouped into different categories including – gambling, health, entertainment, and housing.
You can also get to understand recurrent expenditure and frequency of repetition – weekly, bi-weekly, monthly.
Okra analyzes the revenue data across all financial accounts owned by the corporation to increase accuracy and it projects the number of employees and provides corporate tax information.
You can receive 1 and 2-year projections with a range or confidence based on the financial history of the corporate entity.
In the case of insufficient funds, prompt your customers to connect their other bank accounts to your app to get a full picture of your customer’s finances and their accounts.
You can also complete a debit authorization on any bank account, allowing authorized and customer-consented access to all available banks.
Fara Ashiru Jituboh
Fara Ashiru Jituboh is a Co-Founder and CEO / CTO of Okra.
Before founding Okra in 2019, Fara gained experience building and scaling products in emerging markets and venture-backed startups by working with organizations such as Canva, Techhustle, Sana Benefits, and Dorsata.
Fara also served as a Co-Founder and CTO of Shixels Studios where she led the design and development of core technology for multiple clients including Airtel, AXA Mansard, RenMoney, MTech, Sanofi Pharmaceuticals, and Nestoil.
With expertise in over 20 programming languages, Fara has worked with multiple Fortune 500 companies and began her professional career with BMW, leading the effort in the design and creation of the interactive map for the BMW Museum.
She has also worked with JP Morgan Chase, Fidelity Investments, and Daimler Mercedes Benz.
She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, North Carolina.
David Peterside is a technology entrepreneur with experience in financial services and startups.
Before Okra, David worked in Asset Management, Equities & Technology at UCML Capital.
He was also the founding partner at Vocoa – a mobile voice app that provides financial & business tools for Cocoa Farmers in West Africa.
He holds a BS in Computer Science from Lancaster University and has a keen interest in technology and the global financial markets.
Investors & Funding Rounds
Okra has raised $1 million in pre-seed funding from TLcom Capital.
In addition to hiring fresh engineering talent, the startup aims to take its product offerings that connect bank accounts to apps to new African countries.
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