Fintech in Africa is a gold mine. Investors are betting big on startups offering a plethora of services ranging from neobank payments and loans, to remittances and cross-border transfers, and Well Named therefore. Each of these services solves unique sets of challenges. For cross-border payments, these are the exorbitant prices and regulatory hassles associated with carrying out transactions from one African country to another..
Chipper Cash, a three-year start-up that facilitates cross-border payments across Africa, has closed a $ 100 million Series C round to introduce more products and grow its team.
It wasn’t that long ago that Chipper Cash didn’t make the news. In November 2020, the African cross-border fintech startup raised $ 30 million Series B led by Ribbit Capital and the Jeff Bezos Bezos Expeditions fund.. This was after the closing of a $ 13.8 million Series A round from Deciens Capital and other investors in June 2020. As a result, Chipper Cash went through three rounds totaling $ 143.8 million in one. year. However, when the $ 8.4 million raised in two rounds of funding in 2019 is included, that number rises to $ 152.2 million.
SVB Capital, the investment arm of U.S. high-tech commercial bank Silicon Valley Bank, led this Series C round. Other participants in this cycle include existing investors – Deciens Capital, Ribbit Capital, Bezos Expeditions, One Way Ventures, 500 Startups, Tribe Capital and Brue2 Ventures.
Chipper Cash Was launched in 2018 by Serunjogi ham and Maijid Moujaled. The couple met in Iowa after coming to the United States to study. After their stints with big names like Facebook, Flickr and Yahoo !, the founders decided to work on their own startup.
Last year, the company that offers free mobile services, P2P payment services, was present in seven countries: Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Africa and Kenya. Now it has expanded to new territory outside of Africa. “We have expanded into the UK, this is the first market we have expanded outside of Africa,” CEO Serunjogi told TechCrunch.
In addition and as a sign of growth, the company, which has more than 200 employees, plans to increase its workforce by hiring 100 people throughout the year.. The number of Chipper Cash users rose to 4 million, up 33% from last year. And WWhile the company averaged 80,000 transactions per day in November 2020 and processed $ 100 million in payments in June 2020, it is unclear exactly what those numbers are as Serunjogi declined to comment on them, including his earnings..
When we announced their Series B last year, Chipper Cash wanted to offer more business payment solutions, cryptocurrency trading options, and investment services.. So what has been the progress since? “We launched card products in Nigeria and we also launched our crypto product. We are also soon launching our US equity product in Uganda, Nigeria and a few other countries, ”replied Serunjogi..
Crypto is widely adopted in Africa. African users are responsible for a significant portion of transactions that take place on some global crypto-trading platforms.. For example, African users accounted for $ 7 billion of Luno’s $ 8.3 billion total transaction volume. Binance P2P users in Africa also grew 2,000% in the past five months as their volumes increased over 380%.
Individuals and small businesses in Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya account for the bulk of crypto activity on the continent. Chipper Cash is active in these countries and seizing this opportunity is essentially An evidence. “Our approach to product growth and product addition is based on what our users find valuable. As you can imagine, crypto is a technology that has been widely adopted in Africa and many emerging markets. So we want to give them the power to access crypto and to be able to buy, hold and sell crypto at any time, ”added the CEO.
However, its crypto service is not available in Nigeria, Africa’s largest crypto market. The reason for this is the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) regulations on crypto activities in the country prohibiting users from converting fiat to crypto from their bank accounts.. To survive, most of the crypto players have adopted P2P methods but Chipper Cash does not offer this. one againAnd according to Serunjogi, the company “looks forward to any development in Nigeria that allows it to be offered freely again. “
The same goes for the investment service Chipper Cash which plans to deploy soon in Nigeria and Uganda. Currently, Nigeria’s capital market regulator, the SEC, oversees local investment platforms and places their activities under its responsibility. Chipper Cash will not be exempt when the product goes live in Nigeria and begins to push regulators to be ahead of the curve.
“As fintech explodes and innovation continues to advance, consumers need to protect yourself. We invest millions of dollars every year in our compliance programs, so I think job closely with regulators directly so that these products are offered in a consistent manner is important,Serunjogi noted.
Six billionaire companies in Africa; the fifth fintech unicorn
During our call, Serunjogi made some remarks about Nigeria’s central bank that resemble the comments made by Flutterwave CEO Olugbenga Agboola in March..
While commending the central banks of Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda for creating environments where innovation can flourish, he said: “Nigeria has Probably Africa’s most exciting and dynamic tech ecosystem. And it’s credit directly to CBN for creating and fostering an environment that allowed many startups like us and others like Flutterwave to flourish.
Most fintechs would say CBN is stifling innovation, but comments from the two CEOs seem to suggest otherwise. Obviously, Chipper Cash and Flutterwave strive to be on the right side of the country’s leading banking policies and regulations. That’s why they’re one of the region’s fastest growing fintechs and billion dollar companies too.
“Obviously, we do not enter into our evaluation, but we Probably the most valued private startup in Africa today after this round. It is therefore a reflection of the environment that regulators like CBN have created to enable innovation and growth, Serunjogi commented when asked about the valuation of the company.
Until last week, the only private unicorn startup in Africa this year was Flutterwave. Then the China-backed, Africa-focused fintech OPay came in as the the company is said to be raising $ 400 million at a valuation of $ 1.5 billion. If Serunjogi’s commentary is anything to go by, Chipper Cash is currently valued at between $ 1-2 billion, joining the exclusive billion-dollar club..
But to be sure, I asked Serunjogi again if the company was a unicorn. This time he gave a more cryptic answer. “We do not comment on the size of our review publicly. One of the things that I really liked internally and outside is that the valuation of our company was not at the center of our concerns. It is not a goal that we aspire to achieve. For us, what drives us is that we have a product that has an impact on our users. “
Serunjogi added that this investment actualizes the importance of having a strong balance sheet and integrating SVB Capital and getting existing investors to double down is one way to that end.. According to him, a solid balance sheet provide the necessary infrastructure to support key long-term investments that will translate into more attractive products in the future.
“We see our investors as key business partners. So having very strong partners around the table makes us a stronger company. They are partners who can invest capital in our business, and we can also learn from them by many other ways, ”he said of the investors backing the three-year company.
Much like Ribbit Capital and Bezos Expeditions in last year’s Series B, this is SVB Capital’s first foray into the African market.. In an email, SVB Capital Managing Director Tilli Bannett confirmed the fund’s investment in Chipper Cash. According to him, the venture capital firm invested in Chipper Cash because it created a simple and accessible way for people living in Africa to meet their financial needs through improved products and user experiences..
“As a result, Chipper has had a phenomenal trajectory of consumer adoption and volume across the product.. We are excited the role Chipper has forged in promoting financial inclusion across Africa and the vast potential that lies ahead, ”he added..
Fintech remains the bright spot for African technological investment. In 2020, the sector represented more than 25% of the nearly $ 1.5 billion raised by African startups. That number will likely increase this year because four startups have already raised $ 100 million: TymeBank in February, Flutterwave in March, OPay and Chipper Cash in May.. All of them except TymeBank are now valued at over $ 1 billion, and this is the first time Africa has seen two companies or more than $ 1 billion in a year.. more at Jumia (e-commerce), Interswitch (fintech) and Fawry (fintech), the continent now has six multi-billion dollar tech companies.
Here is another interesting piece of information. The timeframe for startups to reach this milestone appears to be getting shorter. While it took Interswitch and Fawry seventeen and thirteen years respectively, it took Flutterwave five years; Jumia, four years old; then OPay and Chipper Cash three years.