FinTech: African Fintech Wave Scores $200M Series A Raise At $1.7B
It’s a record for a Series A round in Africa.
African fintech Wave, which aims to make Africa the first cashless continent, has raised $200 million from Sequoia Heritage, Founders Fund, pStripe and Ribbit Capital, who jointly led the company’s Series A round. The amount was a record for a Series A raising in Africa, and propelled the startup into the unicorn club with a valuation of $1.7 billion. (TechCrunch)
Based out of Dakar, Senegal in Africa, Wave was founded by Drew Durbin and Lincoln Quirk, who previously launched Sendwave, a provider specializing in remittances to Africa from North America and Europe. Sendwave sold to WorldRemit last year.
Wave targets financial inclusion in Africa
According to Wave, less than 10% of the population has a bank account on the African continent. Though mobile money launched by telecom companies made progress with the problem, most Africans do not have access to financial services that could help them in their lives with goals such as a business or supporting their families.
Wave is building a financial infrastructure that has no fees and is available on tap and everywhere. Its mobile money service dovetails with an agent network that has the cash backup to service Wave’s user needs. Users can make deposits or withdrawals for free, and pay only 1% for money transfers.
The model is already working in Senegal, where Wave claims it is the largest mobile money player with more than half of the country’s adults banking with it.
Use of funds
Plans are already afoot to repeat the model in Ivory Coast, and the new funds will come in handy for the purpose. Wave is mulling an expansion into Uganda.
The two-year old startup will also hire more people to strengthen its product, engineering and business development teams.
The investment round will help the newly-minted unicorn improve its service according to Partech general partner Tidjane Deme.
Related Story: Opay Nabs $400M; Turns Africa’s Fastest Unicorn
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