Why did we invest in Oradian?

#fintech #SaaS #VC

Oradian announced in May 2015 that it recently closed its latest financing round. We are excited and proud to join them on their mission to disrupt the financial inclusion space.

When people think of Day One Capital, what usually flashes through their mind is a Budapest-based VC firm investing all across Central Eastern Europe.

In fact, we walked a rocky road in the past years to make that happen. Started by managing the first institutional business angel fund in Hungary. Evolved to identify and back the most talented Central Eastern European teams from day one.

From our currently opened €3.5 million fund we invest between €200k–€400k. Most of the companies are pre-revenue or even pre-launch when we enter, and have roots — at least a developer base — in Central Eastern Europe.

We met Oradian for the first time in their basecamp, Croatia at Shift Conference back in 2014. And now, after almost a year, we are on board! So why did Day One choose to invest in Oradian? The following seven reasons top our list:

1. SaaS Comes First

Oradian’s main product is Instafin, an SaaS designed to help micro finance providers manage all core-banking activity. They are working all across West Africa to scale their current customer base, mainly present in Nigeria. Software-as-a-Service continues to be one of the most proven business models these days. Oradian’s “Try before you Buy” approach adds their totally fair advantage to the mix. Topping the list with the cloud’s potential in frontier markets, it is hard to beat this combination. Like any good technology investor, we have done our best to identify and invest in ventures that benefit largely from these continuing trends.

2. The Time is Now

It happened back in 2011. At a conference in Mexico I met students from Africa who carried their local youth organization’s annual budget in cash in their backpacks. They were lacking reliable infrastructure to pay their fees online. This was the first moment I really understood how important accessibility to cloud and mobile technology has become in Africa. Scary as it sounds, but 2.5 billion people lack formal access to financial services. In Nigeria alone there are estimated 3,800 microfinance institutions serving 25 million end clients. More often than not these organizations use simple pen & paper processes, augmented with spreadsheets, to manage large portfolios. But as advanced technology is hitting Africa, a new order is taking shape. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation 2015 annual letter calls mobile technology in microfinance one of the four key trends for the next 15 years in emerging economies. The system is sizing up, leaving all historical milestones of technology development behind. An opportunity window we did not want to miss.

3. Tailor-made. Scalable.

“Our vision is that financial institutions don’t need the headache of managing their back office. Managers of banks take decisions based on the information they have available. Because of poor software and understanding of software management [they] have poor data or it costs them a huge amount of time and money, fundamentally limiting their ability to manage their bank. We solve this problem,” Antonio, Co-Founder and CEO of Oradian to TechCrunch.

Oradian has one of the most service-oriented founder teams we have ever met at Day One. Their obsession with their customers’ satisfaction gives the core of the Instafin system. Combining key functionality with state-of-the-art features in a user-centric way is the revolution they offer. The Oradian Ecosystem is designed to allow branch managements to tailor the features according to their specific requirements. However, this is about even more. It is not only a platform providing the highest standards of accessibility and inclusion. The ultimate goal is to scale it into a vivid ecosystem with a vibrant 3rd party marketplace of solution providers. And when network effects come into the picture, investors tend to get super excited, just like we have.

4. They are Authentic

Antonio grew up in Cape Town, South Africa and has almost a decade-long history in the financial inclusion industry. Just like him, his co-founders — Andrew, Julian and Onyeka — also have deep experience in the field. They lived in target markets, worked at multiple players of the industry, even set industry standards.

“We have a multi-national team to run our multinational business: 9 different
nationalities are working at Oradian. Together, the management team and advisors have 100+ years experience running enterprises delivering technology and services to frontier markets.”

Not to mention that three of the co-founders have previously worked at competitors such as Fern Software and Mambu. Describing them in one word? Yes, credibility is the phrase you are looking for.

5. Follow the Smart Money

Oradian’s early investor was Seedcamp, one of the top acceleration funds in Europe. Moreover, in the current round we teamed up with investors who bring proven experience on board to back an #SaaS #Fintech #FrontierMarkets #EnterpriseSoftware company. They are Credo Ventures, Playfair Capital, Africa Angels Network, Esther Dyson, Pule Taukobong and Moaffak Ahmed. And the list might get even longer.

6. Best of Central Eastern Europe

Our credo is that we look for those teams in the region who have the drive and talent to fulfill their global ambition. As winners of the two key startup challenges of the region in 2014 (Pioneers Festival in Vienna, Austria and Shift Conference in Split, Croatia), the guys at Oradian have proven their ability to shine.

7. Concentration of Like-Minded People

Obviously, this is a selection process on both sides, and we are happy to find a match. Identifying the best-in-class founder teams in the region early-on is critical to our investment model. Being enthusiastic about this company we are looking forward to its upcoming successes. Good luck Antonio and Team!


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