Nigerian startup Infibranches is taking energy and financial services to last mile customers, enabling payment collection, product sales and product distribution for energy companies that sell to consumers through a network of agents and various strategic channels.
Formed in 2019, Infibranches began life as a financial services company focused on boosting financial access in rural and peri-urban areas in Nigeria, and in doing so struck upon an important correlation.
“In the process, we realised that most people who lacked access to financial services also lacked access to energy, so we decided to create solutions for both,” CEO Olusola Owoyemi told Disrupt Africa.
The startup’s flagship product, Omnibranches, was built to aid agents that cater to last-mile service delivery, thus creating access on behalf of service providers in unserved and under-served communities. It is especially focused on the renewable energy sector, where it has aggregated around 50 solar home system companies and mini-grids, thereby extending their services to the millions of Nigerians that are off-grid while also enabling access to financial services.
“We partner with other network providers to layer this service on their network so they can offer them to their customers as well, giving us a wider reach,” Owoyemi said.
Infibranches’ API infrastructure acts as a single point of integration (SPOI) to facilitate payments for all these service providers. This helps solar, energy and utility providers to transition millions of households to solar, providing people with clean energy access, bringing them closer to financial access, saving them money, and protecting the planet.
“Currently, an estimated 28 million households and 11 million SMEs are either off-grid or receive less than four hours of power per day,” Owoyemi said. “This amounts to about 120 million people living without access to reliable and affordable power.”
To reach these people, payment and distribution problems need to be fixed, which is what Infibranches is striving to do. The startup is already active across all 36 states of Nigeria, and has served over one million customers. It raised US$2 million from All On, a Shell-funded impact investor, in September 2021 to improve product and technology development and drive energy access across Nigeria.
“Infibranches has recorded remarkable growth and successes since its inception,” Owoyemi said. “The company has aggressively grown its agent network and increased agent count by an average of 22 per cent month-on-month since 2019.”
The startup plans to expand to Ghana and Kenya early next year.