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Afriex Raises $1.2m to Expand Payments, Remittances Across Africa

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By Adedapo Adesanya

The equity funding virus spreading across Africa has infected a fintech startup, Afriex, as it has raised a seed funding round worth $1.2 million in its bid to scale its payments and remittances platform across the continent.

The startup, which is backed by Y Combinator, provides instant, zero-fee transfers to Africans at home and in the diaspora. The platform allows users to deposit cash on the app, send money to a bank account or another user and withdraw money to a connected bank or debit card.

The round, which includes Y Combinator, was led by Launch Africa and also includes the SoftBank Opportunity Fund, as well as Future Africa, Brightstone VC, Russell Smith, Mandela Dixon, Processus Capital, Uncommon Ventures, A$AP Capital, Furquan Rydhan, Precursor Ventures, Ivernet Holdings and Andrea Vaccari.

Afriex Operations

Sending money overseas is still slow and expensive. Afriex fixes this by buying cryptocurrency in one country and selling it in another to offer better exchange rates and faster transfers than banks or other transfer services.

Based in the United States and Nigeria, the platform is already processing millions of dollars in payments each month for thousands of Africans in the diaspora and on the continent, growing 20x in 2020.

It is now set for even quicker growth after securing its $1.2 million seed funding round as a result of its participation in Y Combinator’s Summer 2020 Cohort.

Initially active only in the United States and Nigeria, Afriex has now started operations in three new countries; Ghana, Kenya and Uganda.

The firm expects to use the investment to grow its team and expand into further new markets, speeding its vision to be the fastest, cheapest way to send money to anyone in the world.

While the likes of Western Union and Transferwise (now Wise) built their businesses on top of the traditional banking system, Afriex uses stablecoins, a cryptocurrency backed by the US Dollar. This means it can charge lower fees and transfer funds faster, in minutes as opposed to days.

CEO comments

Commenting, its founder and chief executive officer (CEO), Mr Temitope Alabi, said it had always been his dream as an immigrant child growing up in the US to be able to make an impact at scale.

“We would go back home every two years and even then I would always take note of what was missing and what could be improved,” he said.

Back in the US, Mr Alabi went on to study engineering at the University of North Texas, before working for companies such as Wix, IDEO and Consensys as a software engineer.

At the latter, the largest blockchain development firm in the world that was founded by one of the co-founders of Ethereum, he would often have to travel to other countries to give talks on the blockchain.

“I would find myself having to pay for foreign expenses with money that was sitting in a US bank account. Traditional remittance companies were so slow and expensive that I knew I could do it better with crypto.

“Remittance is the best and most important use case for crypto. Our goal is to build the world’s largest remittance company starting with emerging markets.

“We don’t have to hold inflationary currencies – we can just hold USD and crypto allows us to source better exchange rates,” Mr Alabi noted.

About Afriex

Afriex makes it easy for immigrants to send money home. It uses stablecoins (a cryptocurrency backed by the US dollar) to offer the fastest and cheapest remittance service to five countries around the world. Find out more at afriexapp.com.

Recent fundraisings

In recent time, Nigerian startups have received funds from different investors and a few of them include Flutterwave, Kuda Microfinance Bank, amongst others.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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The blockchain brings new financing options to the business market. For example, Bitcoin Cash casino has adapted to only using cryptocurrency. This way, it makes it easier for their customers to deposit and withdraw in a BCH casino. Entrepreneurs have taken note of this and are looking to invest more in crypto than in fiat markets.

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