An Irish-Owned Digital Bank Serving Kenya and Nigeria

Umba is a fully-digital, mobile bank for emerging markets, first aimed at the African market. The innovative FinTech company was founded by former Munster rugby player, Barry O’Mahony, and co-founder Tiernan Kennedy. Umba offers a transparent and accessible digital alternative to legacy African banks, an underserved market in the region. Initially launched in Kenya, Umba has since grown to serve both the Kenyan and Nigerian markets. The two countries have a combined population of over a quarter of a billion people.

Umba’s mobile app gives customers a free checking account, free instant peer-to-peer payments, lending, bill payments, deposits, and cash back. This is in contrast to the generally high-cost barriers found among traditional banking institutions in African countries.

The Umba app lets customers in the emerging markets use their mobile phone to apply for small loans which may be used to purchase items or pay bills. The platform includes machine learning capabilities which are used for fraud detection and automating loan decisions.

Since its launch in Kenya in 2018 the platform has gained over 200,000 users and is experiencing month-on-month growth of over 10%.

Key Takeaways

Founded
In 2018 by Barry O’Mahony and Tiernan Kennedy
200,000
Since its launch the platform has gained over 200,000 users
+10%
Currently experiencing month-on-month growth of over 10%
FinTech
A fully digital mobile bank service made for Africa
Machine Learning
The platform utilises machine learning for fraud detection and automating loan decisions

Working with Keeper Solutions

Umba engaged with Keeper at a very early stage in its evolution. The company was founded in 2018 and has been working with Keeper from the very outset. Outside the company’s founders, it was Keeper who provided the first development capabilities to Umba. This was carried out under the close guidance of the company’s CTO. 

Keeper provided a Python and Android development team which has built, deployed and extended the core Umba products.

In addition to product engineering, Keeper has provided data science/machine learning capability for the development of business critical algorithms for credit risk, loan decisioning and fraud detection.

About the Project

2018
The engagement commenced in 2018, the year of the company’s launch
Business Critical Algorithms
Keeper has provided machine learning capability for the development of business critical algorithms
Tech Stack
Python, Kotlin, Android
Extend Product Offering
Umba needed to be able to access expert development capability so they could build, extend and consolidate their product marketing

Providing Expert Software Development Capabilities

Umba first approached Keeper following significant marketplace traction with their early MVP (minimum viable product). After early success, Umba needed to be able to access expert development capability so they could build, extend and consolidate their product marketing. Keeper has provided Umba with access to an experienced and highly skilled team.

Umba has been able to successfully capture their selected market niche through rapid product development and reduced time-to-market. With a rapidly growing customer base, Umba has needed to deliver a secure, scalable and stable product. 

On more than one occasion, Umba has experienced organised fraudulent activity amongst its user base. However, Keeper has been able to assist them in quickly adjusting the product to close off loopholes.

Keeper and Umba – A Perfect Partnership

With the help of Keeper Solutions, Umba has gone from strength to strength. Keeper has proven to be an ideal development partner for Umba, providing structured management and high quality expertise at a cost-efficient rate.

In December 2020, Umba secured a $2 million seed funding round from new investors as it seeks to scale its product offerings.

With Keeper Solutions’ support, the future is incredibly bright for this ambitious and innovative FinTech firm.