Digital payment Startup, Kudi, has secured a Series A funding that will enable the company to fast-track its expansion across Nigeria. The company raised $5 million from several existing investors.
Purpose of the fundraising:According to a press statement issued to Nairametrics, Kudi intends to increase its network of bank agents stationed across Nigeria. The fund will also afford the company to launch financial services in partnership with banks and fintechs, all in a bid to serve millions of Nigerians.
The financial products include: savings, loans, insurance to both small and informal businesses and individuals.
Why Kudi matters: Majority of the transaction in Nigeria still rely largely on cash. Moreover, Kudi believes that digital solution alone cannot drive financial inclusion. Instead, Kudi‘s agents are needed to achieve the objective.
According to the statement:
“Ninety per cent of all transactions in Africa still rely on cash. More specifically in Nigeria, 80% of the population works informally and is paid cash in hand. With figures still as high as this, digital solutions alone are not enough: Kudi’s agent network bridges this gap.
“Kudi’s mission is to make financial services accessible and affordable for all Africans. Kudi does this by enabling underbanked and unbanked Africans access to basic financial services like money transfers, bill payments and cash withdrawals through an agent’s network. Since its launch in January 2017, Kudi has grown its agent network to over 4,500 merchants and is adding new agents every day. The company makes it easy for agents to sign-up and have more visibility into their day-to-day operations. They process over $30 million in payments each month.”
Investors who participated: The Series A fundraising was led by Partech and joined by Michael Seibel (YC CEO). Also, Khosla Ventures and YC participated.
New appointment: Meanwhile, the General Partner at Partech and Co-lead of the Partech Africa Fund, Tidjane Dème, will join Kudi’s Board.
Kudi and Partech’s reaction to the Series A fund
The Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Kudi, Yinka Adewale, said the company will now focus on building on its impressive performance by increasing its workforce with 15 new members.
“We’re excited about the growth we’ve experienced over the last 12 months. We literally grew from processing $1.1M to $30M monthly with the same team.
“Going forward, we’ll be hiring engineers, product managers and product designers to ensure our product is 10X better than what’s on the market today even as we grow our network of agents”, says Adewale.
The company currently accounts for 4,500 merchants and is adding new agents every day.
While for Partech‘s General Partner, Tidjane Dème, Agent networks are important in the spread of digitalisation in Africa, so Partech believes in the objective of Kudi, which he said has produced impressive growth since their inception.
“Agent networks are the backbone of African digitization as they offer an effective way of distributing digital services. We believe that Yinka and Pelumi have the right vision to build the best platform for agent networks.
“The Kudi team has built an excellent product that their agents love to use. As a result, Kudi has demonstrated an impressive growth since its inception.”
Meanwhile, Y Combinator‘s Michael Seibel said the growth of digital payments in Nigeria will be accelerated by Kudi which is serving as a middleman between cash and the digital payment system.
“For an economy that largely depends on cash, the growth of digital payments in Nigeria will be accelerated by Kudi as they provide a gateway between cash and digital, and we think that’s a huge opportunity.”
Kudi‘s mission is to make financial services accessible and affordable for all Africans. Kudi does this by enabling underbanked and unbanked Africans access basic financial services like money transfers, bill payments and cash withdrawals through their agent network. Kudi, a YC alumni, was founded in Nigeria in 2016 by Yinka Adewale (Co-Founder, CEO) and Pelumi Aboluwarin (Co-Founder, CTO).
About Kudi’s founders
Yinka Adewale is a graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University. He co-founded Sanwo Touch2pay, originally a payment platform for university students in Nigeria and he co-founded clinicfy, a cloud-based financial software for hospitals to track their revenues and invoices.
Pelumi Aboluwarin is a Machine Learning and Software Engineer. He previously co-founded Qwikgist, a news aggregation service acquired by Businessday and worked in a variety of software engineering roles for companies like Nexmo (acquired by Vonage) and Jumia (they recently filed for an IPO on NYSE).
Partech is a global investment firm with offices in San Francisco, Paris, Berlin and Dakar. They bring together capital, operational experience and strategic support for entrepreneurs at seed, venture and growth stages across multiple continents, with over $1.2 billion investment capacity.
Investments range from $200,000 to $50 million in a wide range of technologies and businesses for enterprises and consumers, from software, digital brands and services, to hardware and deep tech across all major industries. Companies backed by Partech have completed more than 20 initial public offerings and more than 50 strategic exits above $100 million.
Paypal’s Venmo now permits cryptocurrency trading
Venmo will support four different cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin.
Venmo, a mobile payment service owned by PayPal has announced that it has started allowing users to buy, hold and sell cryptocurrencies on its app. Just like PayPal, Venmo will support four different cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin, and users can carry out transactions with as little as $1 on the app
Founded in 2009, Venmo has over 70 million users and it is one of the most popular payment channels in the US. The payment platform processed around $159 billion in payments last year.
Since the app functions like a social network, adding cryptocurrency will offer a more user-friendly feel for people who love buying and selling crypto.
As bigger companies show more interest in cryptocurrency, there will be wider adoption of virtual currencies in future. Venmo is the latest payment app that is offering support for cryptocurrency on its platform.
Paypal, the parent company of Venmo is one of the most active companies in the crypto space as it allows users to buy, sell and hold cryptocurrencies in their digital wallets. Paypal users can also spend their coins at millions of merchants globally.
Crypto on Venmo is enabled through PayPal’s partnership with Paxos Trust Company, a regulated provider of cryptocurrency products and services.
What they are saying
Darrell Esch, Venmo’s Senior Vice President and general manager said “Our goal is to provide our customers with an easy-to-use platform that simplifies the process of buying and selling cryptocurrencies and demystifies some of the common questions and misconceptions that consumers may have.”
ABCON asks CBN to check impact of cryptocurrencies on diaspora remittances
The association also noted that the apex bank needs to address other issues driving the patronage of cryptocurrency exchanges for remittance transfers.
The Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) has asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to introduce measures that will neutralize the positive effects of cryptocurrencies as a channel for diaspora remittances.
This is to redirect diaspora remittances away from cryptocurrency exchanges to official channels and also protect such against potential disruptions.
This call was made by ABCON during its Quarterly Economic Review for the first quarter of 2021 where it commended the CBN for the N5/$ rebate scheme introduced to encourage diaspora Nigerians to use official channels to remit their funds.
However, the association noted that the apex bank needs to address other issues driving the patronage of cryptocurrency exchanges for remittance transfers.
What ABCON is saying in their statement
The association in its statement said, “It is noteworthy that public acceptability for cryptocurrency exchanges are rising which could be quite accountable for the wide drop in diaspora inflows to Nigeria. Insecurity in the country is giving it greater prominence as investors and citizens are finding Cryptocurrency a safe haven for their wealth in case of any eventuality.
In most Emerging Markets Bitcoin transfers surged last year, as the pandemic exposed the cheaper and more efficient digital remittance services. Migrants sending money across borders to their families prefer the minimal transaction costs of cryptocurrency exchanges against the exorbitant costs of traditional money transfer companies like Western Union.”
According to ABCON, “Cryptocurrency transactions are faster than the conventional transfers, which require passing through banks reliant SWIFT, the sluggish, half-century-old interbank messaging system that handles cross-border payments.
These exchanges override the political complications of official channels. The global reach of cryptocurrencies avoids the inflation risk inherent to official currencies, especially in politically unstable countries reliant on fickle foreign investors.
Thus, while we commend the efforts of CBN in introducing the package of Five Naira for One Dollar transfer, it can be seen from the analysis above that the challenges exceed just non-payment of foreign currency by the IMTCs and the exchange rate. Strategies that satisfy the most sensitive of these advantages of Cryptocurrency exchanges must be introduced to redirect flows to the official channel.”
ABCON also expressed concerns over the country’s huge unemployment rate, urging the government to apply radical approaches with the use of both conventional and unconventional economic and political tools to redress the trend.
What you should know
- It can be recalled that the apex bank had about 2 months ago, warned the Deposit Money Banks, Non-Financial Institutions and other Financial Institutions against doing business in crypto and other digital assets.
- The CBN directed financial institutions to immediately close the accounts of persons or entities transacting in or operating cryptocurrency exchanges, warning of severe regulatory sanctions in the event of any breach of the directive.
- The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had a few days ago, revealed that it is working with the CBN for a better understanding and regulation of cryptocurrencies in the country.
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