San Francisco-Based Fintech Firm Expands To Nigeria, Partners With Paystack

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Written by Peter Pedroncelli
fintech firm
Chipper Cash co-founders Ham Serunjogi (right) and Maijid Moujaled (left). Their fintech firm has expanded into Nigeria. Image: 500 Startups

Chipper Cash, a Ugandan mobile money payment firm based in Silicon Valley, has partnered with Paystack, a Nigerian fintech startup providing payment tools to businesses across Africa, to expand into Nigeria.

Nigeria is the largest economy and most populous country in Africa. Its fintech industry is one of the most advanced in Africa, up there with Kenya and South Africa, Chipper Cash CEO Ham Serunjogi told Techcrunch.

“I think for any company doing fintech across borders that is looking to be successful in Africa, it’s imperative that you have a presence in Nigeria”, he said.

Chipper Cash is expected to leverage Paystack’s payment gateway infrastructure to provide mobile-money services to and from Nigeria, Techcrunch reports.

Chipper Cash offers no-fee, person to person, cross-border mobile-money payments in Africa through its app. It claims to have processed 250,000 transactions for more than 70,000 active users, according to Techpoint.

Now operating in six African countries and with offices in Ghana and Kenya, Chipper Cash is employing staff and launching an office in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and a major remittances market.

Sub-Saharan Africa’s remittances market was worth $38 billion in 2017, according to World Bank data. The largest number of remittance recipients were in Nigeria, with $21.9 billion or almost 58 percent of sub-Saharan Africa’s total remittances.

U.S.-based fintech firm with an African focus

Chipper Cash was founded in 2018 by Ugandan CEO Ham Serunjogi and Ghanaian Maijid Moujaled. They both moved to the U.S. to study and work in Silicon Valley.

They chose San Francisco as their headquarters with offices in Africa to have access to venture capital and U.S. developers while also maintaining a presence in their key African markets, Techcrunch reports.

Lagos-based payments firm Paystack also has an office in San Francisco. It was the first Nigerian company to be accepted into Silicon Valley accelerator Y Combinator and has raised $11.7 million in funding since its launch in 2016, according to Crunchbase.

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Chipper Cash has made a few high-profile hires for its new office in Lagos.

Abiodun Animashaun, co-founder of Lagos-based ride-hailing startup Gokada, is leaving that company to join Chipper Cash as Nigeria country manager

Alicia Levine is leaving Kenya-based internet hardware startup Brck to become Chipper Cash’s chief operating officer.

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Chipper Cash has already attracted investment. In May 2019, the fintech firm raised a $2.4 million seed round led by San Francisco-based fintech investor Deciens Capital.

Silicon Valley accelerator 500 Startups and San Francisco investment firm Liquid 2 Ventures, which was co-founded by Joe Montana, participated in the round.

Chipper Cash also runs Chipper Checkout, a merchant-focused, fee-based mobile payments product. That product is expected to be launched in Nigeria later this year.