Nigerian fintech startup Wallets Africa raises undisclosed amount for African expansion
Nigerian fintech startup Wallets Africa has raised an undisclosed amount of funding to expand its operations and continue its quest to become Africa’s foremost borderless digital payments platform.
A digital financial platform that makes it easier for Africans and visitors to the continent to transact with an app and a card, Wallets Africa secured this round of funding from Mozilla Corporation, 9Yards Capital, Samurai Incubate, and Michael Seibel, Y Combinator CEO. They join the investors’ Maria Alegre, CEO of Chartboost; Microtraction; Venture Souq; and Brad Flora who have previously invested in the company.
Founded in Lagos, Nigeria in 2018, founder and CEO, John Oke hatched the Wallets Africa idea two years earlier while still a software engineer at SureGifts, a gift voucher company. While integrating the company’s core backend with Kenya’s mobile money service, M-Pesa, he noticed the seamless payment possibilities available for both. One could make use of a SureGifts voucher to pay at an M-Pesa till at a mall or to get tickets at an IMAX cinema in Nairobi. Thus, this realisation led him to believe that financial transactions via digital wallets were possible and could be adopted in Nigeria.
Over the next 18 months, Oke started working and consulting for banks and fintech companies including Interswitch, gaining some experience of the Nigerian financial terrain before launching out. The company’s various products currently span across several packages including, one for consumers, which allows them to, in addition to making payments on international platforms such as Netflix & Amazon, pay bills, buy airtime, use a card for purchases and make money transfers to banks in Nigeria as well as mobile money transactions in Ghana and Kenya. The company’s business product allows small business owners and startups to manage their transactions from an incredibly intuitive dashboard.
Wallets Africa’s growing user count stands at 43,000 over 1,400 businesses signed up. The startup also handles more than ₦3 billion ($6.7M) in transactions monthly.
Oke insists this is just one phase of a wide-ranging strategy. “We are providing corporate banking for businesses. This investment, which is basically an impact investment, will be used to help small businesses scale. We are becoming the first bank account for businesses as they can sign up on our portal and get an account in three minutes,” he said. “Wallets Africa will also be helping these businesses and developers issue wallets the way most of them issue cards these days.”
He added that physical prepaid Naira cards are set to be rolled out this week, a welcome development which will allow customers to easily withdraw cash from ATMs as well as pay offline at POS terminals.
As with most Nigerian fintech startups, Wallets Africa aims to become a digital bank and is bracing itself for competition. “We are becoming a 360-degree payment instrument for businesses and consumers,” Oke explains We’ll continue to work with banks and organisations across the world to build digital financial channels for the next billion internet users.”