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African fintech startup Chipper Cash raises $30M backed by Jeff Bezos – TechCrunch

Ham Official

African cross-border fintech startup Chipper Cash has raised a $30 million Sequence B funding spherical led by Ribbit Capital with participation of Bezos Expeditions — the non-public VC fund of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

Chipper Cash was based in San Francisco in 2018 by Ugandan Ham Serunjogi and Ghanaian Maijid Moujaled. The corporate affords mobile-based, no payment, P2P cost companies in seven international locations: Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Africa and Kenya.

Parallel to its P2P app, the startup additionally runs Chipper Checkout — a merchant-focused, fee-based cost product that generates the income to help Chipper Money’s free mobile-money enterprise. The corporate has scaled to three million customers on its platform and processes a median of 80,000 transactions month-to-month. In June 2020, Chipper Money reached a month-to-month funds worth of $100 million, in accordance with CEO Ham Serunjogi .

As a part of the Sequence B increase, the startup plans to increase its merchandise and geographic scope. On the product facet, that entails providing extra enterprise cost options, crypto-currency buying and selling choices, and funding companies.

“We’ll all the time be a P2P monetary switch platform at our core. However we’ve had demand from our customers to supply different worth companies…like buying cryptocurrency belongings and making investments in shares,” Serunjogi informed PJDM on a name.

Picture Credit: Chipper Money

Chipper Money has added beta dropdowns on its website and app to purchase and promote Bitcoin and put money into U.S. shares from Africa — the latter via a partnership with U.S. monetary companies firm DriveWealth.

“We’ll launch [the stock product] in Nigeria first so Nigerians have the choice to purchase fractional shares — Tesla shares, Apple shares or Amazon shares and others — via our app. We’ll increase into different international locations thereafter,” mentioned Serunjogi.

On the enterprise monetary companies facet, the startup plans to supply extra API funds options. “We’ve been getting plenty of requests from individuals on our P2P platform, who even have enterprise enterprises, to have the ability to gather funds on the market of products,” defined Serunjogi.

Chipper Money additionally plans to make use of its Sequence B financing for extra nation enlargement, which the corporate will announce by the top of 2021.

Jeff Bezos’s backing of Chipper Money follows a latest string of occasions that has elevated the visibility of Africa’s startup scene. Over the previous decade, the continent’s tech ecosystem has been one of many quickest rising on the earth by yr year-over-year enlargement in enterprise capital and startup formation, concentrated in international locations akin to Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa.

Africa Top VC Markets 2019

Picture Credit: PJDM/Bryce Durbin

Bringing Africa’s giant unbanked inhabitants and underbanked shoppers and SMEs on-line has factored prominently. Roughly 66% of Sub-Saharan Africa’s 1 billion individuals don’t have a checking account, in accordance with World Financial institution knowledge.

As such, fintech has turn into Africa’s highest-funded tech sector, receiving the majority of an estimated $2 billion in VC that went to startups in 2019. Even with the speedy enterprise funding progress during the last decade, Africa’s tech scene had been efficiency mild, with just one recognized unicorn (e-commerce enterprise Jumia) a handful of exits, and no main public share choices. That modified final yr.

In April 2019, Jumia — backed by buyers together with Goldman Sachs and Mastercard — went public in an NYSE IPO. Later within the yr, Nigerian fintech firm Interswitch achieved unicorn status after a $200 million funding by Visa.

This yr, Community Worldwide bought East African funds startup DPO for $288 million and in August WorldRemit acquired Africa targeted remittance firm Sendwave for $500 million.

One of many extra important liquidity occasions in African tech occurred final month, when Stripe acquired Nigerian cost gateway startup Paystack for a reported $200 million.

In an e mail to PJDM, a spokesperson for Bezos Expeditions confirmed the fund’s funding in Chipper Money, however declined to touch upon additional plans to again African startups. Per Crunchbase data, the funding can be the primary in Africa for the fund. It’s value noting Bezos Expeditions is just not related to Jeff Bezo’s hallmark enterprise enterprise, Amazon.

For Chipper Money, the $30 million Sequence B increase caps an event-filled two years for the San Francisco-based funds firm and founders Ham Serunjogi and Maijid Moujaled. The 2 got here to America for teachers, met in Iowa whereas learning at Grinnell School and ventured out to Silicon Valley for stints in large tech: Fb for Serunjogi and Flickr and Yahoo! for Moujaled.

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Chipper Money founders Ham Serunjogi (R) and Maijid Moujaled; Picture Credit: Chipper Money

The startup name beckoned and after launching Chipper Money in 2018, the duo convinced 500 Startups and Liquid 2 Ventures — co-founded by American soccer legend Joe Montana — to again their firm with seed funds. The startup expanded into Nigeria and Southern Africa in 2019, entered a funds partnership with Visa in April and raised a $13.eight million Sequence A in June.

Chipper Money founder Ham Serunjogi believes the backing of his firm by a notable tech determine, akin to Jeff Bezos (the world’s richest individual), has advantages past his enterprise.

“It’s an enormous deal when a world class investor like Bezos or Ribbit goes out of their candy spot to a brand new space the place they beforehand haven’t carried out investments,” he mentioned. “Finally, the winner of these issues occurring is the African tech ecosystem total, as it would convey extra funding from corporations of that caliber to African startups.”

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Jake Bright