Payment startup Chipper Cash raises US$6m for Southern Africa expansion

AFRICA – African cross-border fintech startup Chipper Cash has raised a US$6 million seed round led by Deciens Capital, a venture capital firm that focuses on making angel and seed investments.

The San Francisco-based company offers mobile-based, no fee, P2P payment services in six countries: Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria, Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya.

According to CEO Ham Serunjogi, Chipper Cash will use the capital to grow its team and move into new geographic areas. “Southern Africa is an area we’re looking to expand to in 2020,” he said

After going live in 2018, Chipper Cash raised US$2.4 million in May 2019 in a seed round that included support from 500 Startups and Liquid 2 Ventures — co-founded by American football icon Joe Montana.

With its latest round, the startup has raised more than US$8 million in seed capital. Participants in the US$6 million financing include previous investors, and a few new backers, such as Boston-based Raptor Group.

Deciens Capital co-founder Dan Kimerling confirmed the fund’s lead on the latest round and that he will continue his role on Chipper Cash’s board.

The fintech company, co-founded by Ghanaian Maijid Moujaled, now has more than 600,000 active users and has processed more than 3 million transactions on its no-fee, P2P, cross-border mobile-money payments product, according to Serunjogi.

The startup also runs Chipper Checkout: a merchant-focused, fee-based C2B mobile payment product that generates the revenue to support Chipper Cash’s free mobile-money business.

The startup’s planned move to Southern Africa — home to the continent’s second-largest and most advanced economy of South Africa — will place Chipper Cash in all three corners of the Africa’s triangle of leading digital finance markets.

There are hundreds of payments startups across Africa looking to bring the continent’s large unbanked and underbanked populations onto mobile finance applications.

Some products, such as M-Pesa in Kenya, have succeeded in reaching tens of millions. However, one characteristic of successful African fintech products is that their use has been geographically segregated, with few apps able to scale widely across borders.

On how the startup will compete with these new players with big coffers, Serunjogi points to Chipper Cash’s gratis-payment structure, among other factors.

“Money doesn’t buy product market fit. It doesn’t buy ultimate success in this space,” he said.

“By offering our product for free, we’re not in a pricing war or competing on a dollar-to-dollar basis. We’re in a pure utility war on who can provide the most value to our users. We’re quite comfortable with our position, and our long-term value proposition will speak for itself over time,” Serunjogi added.

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