Stitch: Story, Founders, Investors & Funding Rounds
Founded by Kiaan Pillay, Natalie Cuthbert, and Priyen Pillay, Stitch works to provide full API access to financial accounts across Africa starting from its first market, South Africa.
The Stitch API also allows developers to connect apps to financial accounts within minutes, allowing their users to share their transaction histories and balances, confirm their identities, and initiate payments.
This tooling allows companies to innovate with new and improved services including personal finance, lending, insurance, payments, and wealth management. Stitch also enables fintech to work with traditional financial institutions in a safer and more compliant way.
Stitch provides solutions for e-commerce companies, marketplaces, and platforms and its leading clientele, fintech. As with other years, African fintech outperformed other startups in raising venture capital, particularly in a record-breaking 2021 where they raised 50-60% of total VC funding per reports.
Their importance can’t be overstated and infrastructural players such as Stitch, Mono, Okra, Plaid, and OnePipe are pivotal to that collective growth of driving financial inclusion and ease of payments across the continent.
These business customers use Stitch for use cases such as KYC & onboarding, personal and business financial management, lending, wallet top-ups, and e-commerce checkouts.
The platform’s data and identity products allow businesses to access customer transaction histories and balance data, verify account information, and perform fraud checks. The payments product enables bank-to-bank transfers for one-click pay-ins and payouts.
In April 2021, Stitch launched its payments product in South Africa and noticed a 50% month-on-month growth in payments volume in the following six months. In October, Stitch expanded the payment product to Nigeria and, at the time, was on track to facilitate $10 million in monthly payments by December the same year.
How it Works
Enable Instant EFT payments within guest checkout flows, via the payment link or QR codes and also receive instant notifications for proof of payment, and access funds within 24 hours.
Introduction and bank selection
First-time users are introduced to Stitch SafeLink and the Instant EFT method and are reassured that they’re in control and that their personal and financial data are secured.
Returning users skip straight to bank selection, eliminating unnecessary friction from the process.
Log-in, account selection, and authentication
The user logs into their banking portal without leaving the flow and selects the account they want to pay with.
SafeLink adapts to the requirements of each bank, handling OTPs, app-push, and other MFAs required to authorize the payment – even CAPTCHA.
Returning users pay even faster
Users have the option of saving a beneficiary and remembering account details, allowing them to make payments in under 10 seconds when they return.
Link Pay allows users to link a bank account for a faster, more convenient payment experience with high conversion – without high fees or fear of fraud.
Customers login to their account directly from your platform
Customers login to their bank and confirm the account they want to link for future payments.
Stitch SafeLink adapts to the requirements of each bank, handling OTPs, app-push, and other MFAs, including CAPTCHA.
The credentials are securely encrypted and tokenized
Details are stored in a secure, encrypted vault hosted on Microsoft Azure and then supply a unique, randomly-generated token that can be used to identify the customer.
When the customer returns to make a payment, they can do it in a single click, without the need to interact with Stitch (except in the case of reauthorization).
Stitch allows you to initiate payouts to any account, with instant or same-day settlements and enable seamless withdrawals, and send refunds and disbursements over API.
If a customer wishes to withdraw funds, they can pre-populate an account that was previously linked with LinkPay as a payment destination and ensure that it’s verified and active.
Customers can also choose to link a new account, which they can verify before making the payment.
Send refunds to the same account that was used to make a pay-in, with no need for customers to re-enter their details.
Stitch can enable businesses to pay out to accounts that are not linked with Stitch, for things like paying vendors or running payroll.
They’ll verify the account before sending the payment – without requiring input from the account owner.
Stitch allows customers to choose how they wish to pay, accept direct deposits via API and easily reconcile payments alongside other methods, without needing to integrate directly with banks.
Kiaan Pillay is the Co-Founder and CEO of Stitch.
Kiaan Pillay attended the University of Cape Town.
Natalie Cuthbert is the co-founder and CTO at Stitch.
Natalie Cuthbert studied at the University of Cape Town.
Priyen Pillay is the co-founder and CCO at Stitch.
Investors & Funding Rounds
Firstminute Capital, Raba, CRE Venture Capital, Village Global, Future Africa, Norrsken, 500 Startups, Musha Ventures
Stitch announced its seed round of $4 million. This makes it the largest round raised by any API fintech startup in Africa at the moment.
As of now, Stitch has a data and identity API product, and this month, a payment product will be added to its offerings.
Like most API fintech startups, Stitch charges developers and companies per API call. However, some products like budgeting or personal finance management apps also charge a fixed fee.
With wide and deep investor backing, Stitch will use the funding to consolidate growth in South Africa. There are plans to also launch operations in West and East Africa.
Stitch has an impressive lineup of investors for this seed round led by London-based VC firm, Firstminute Capital, and U.S.-based investment firm, The Raba Partnership. Other investors who took part include both funds and angels.
The funds include CRE and Village Global, Norrsken (a fund by Klarna co-founder Niklas Adalberth), Future Africa (a fund by Flutterwave co-founder Iyinoluwa Aboyeji), and 500 Fintech.
The angel cohort includes Venmo co-founder Iqram Magdon-Ismail, some founding members at Plaid, and executives at Coinbase, Revolut, Fast, and Paystack.
For Stitch, its seed round is the latest in a series of notable deals in the African API fintech space over the previous years, where all major players have raised between $500,000 to $4 million.
Perpay: This is an all-in-one FinTech app providing underserved consumers with an easy way to make purchases, pay over time, and build credit.
Paystack: It lets businesses accept payments via credit card, debit card, money transfer, and mobile money on their websites or mobile apps.
Paytron: This is a financial services company that offers business accounts, international transfers, payroll, and payment management solutions.
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