Nigeria’s Lemonade Finance expands to seven African markets

NIGERIA – Nigeria’s diaspora-focused fintech startup, Lemonade Finance, has expanded user-transaction options to Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, Cameroon, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Uganda.

Initially, users could only send money to Nigeria, Ghana, and Kenya at affordable rates on the Lemonade Finance platform.

The new expansion gives users more alternatives to make transactions across the other African countries.

Founded in 2020 by Ridwan Olalere and Rina Cochran, the Y Combinator-backed fintech is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority and provides users with accounts in their country of residence and country of origin for personal and business banking needs.

The finance company is licensed in Canada as a money service business and has necessary license coverage in the US, UK, and Europe to enable Nigerians to send money to bank accounts in those countries.

Lemonade Finance tackles the cross-border payments challenges, such as long transaction completion times, restrictions in terms of use, and steep fees, encountered by Africans.

The platform allows users to switch between currencies benefiting thousands of users across North America and Europe.

Its participation in Y Combinator W21 enabled the startup to close a US$725,000 pre-seed funding round which included Microtraction, Ventures Platform, and Acuity Venture Partners.

The company’s expansion unlocks the doors to a greater share of the African market for Lemonade Finance, stimulating the start-up’s drive to build the biggest neobank for African immigrants.

Afeez Gbotosho, Lemonade’s head of products, said the addition of Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Benin Republic, Cameroon, Tanzania, Uganda, and Rwanda was data-driven. These six countries have nationals abroad who often need to send money back home.

Remittance flows to sub-Saharan Africa were recorded to be over US$48 billion with Nigeria alone receiving about half of the total remittance flows to sub-Saharan.

Lowering the burden of sending remittances can maximize this important flow of financing for development.

There is a need for policymakers to make sure remittance service providers do not face difficulties in partnering with correspondent banks.

Opening access of money transfer operators (MTOs) to partnerships with national post offices, national banks, and telecommunications companies could help remove entry barriers and increase competition in remittance markets.

The fintech company firmly stands on its instant cross-border delivery and innovation to stay on top of the game despite competition.

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