Nigerian blockchain funds startup Bitmama closes $2M pre-seed because it scales to new markets

Africa is the world’s third fastest-growing crypto market, with crypto adoption increasing by more than 1,200% over the past two years. Countries akin to Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa are majorly chargeable for skyrocketing adoption charges as residents attempt to hedge in opposition to forex devaluation and construct wealth.

Despite African governments’ inconsistent stance on cryptocurrencies, these nations home a lot of the continent’s crypto and blockchain startups. In the most recent growth, one such firm, Bitmama, has raised a pre-seed extension of $1.65 million, including to the $350,000 it obtained final October, thus, closing the spherical at $2 million.

Africa-focused enterprise capital companies Unicorn Growth Capital and Launch Africa led the funding in Bitmama. Others embody current and new traders akin to Adaverse, Flori Ventures, Tekedia Capital, GreenHouse Capital, ODBA, Five35 Ventures, Chrysalis Capital, Enrich Africa, Thrive Africa, Angellist Ventures and angel traders, together with Rene Reinsberg, Marek Olszewski and Honey Ogundeyi.

The U.S.- and Nigeria-based firm, which has constructed a distributed distant staff throughout Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya, says it’s working to democratize Africa’s extremely fragmented fee system by leveraging blockchain-based options.

Chief govt officer Ruth Iselema based the Africa-focused blockchain funds startup in 2019. Adam Umar is the corporate’s CTO, whereas Akinbola Asalu is the COO. According to the executives, Bitmama began as a WhatsApp group the place members discovered about crypto, notably bitcoin, and made transactions. Subsequently, they constructed a crypto alternate platform and allowed these customers to entry digital property formally and discover different use circumstances, together with shopping for, promoting and swapping crypto and peer-to-peer transactions. More lately, the corporate launched Changera, a social fee resolution permitting prospects to make use of stablecoins to facilitate remittances and worldwide funds on Netflix and Amazon through digital playing cards.

“We started Bitmama to make it easy for anyone across the African continent to buy and sell cryptocurrency. But as time passed, we saw a couple of use cases we could employ this technology to solve,” CEO Iselema instructed Thealike on a name. “Many people wanted to make transactions asides from buying and selling of crypto, so we built stuff that could also let them buy local and international airtime and data. Then, due to local bank card limitations of $20 monthly spend, we provided virtual dollar cards for Nigerians to make international purchases.”

The firm says its Changera digital crypto debit playing cards, funded with stablecoins, have over $10,000 in month-to-month spending limits and “can work anywhere in the world for online transactions.” According to the CEO, Bitmama launched Changera on the intersection of blockchain funds and life-style, primarily concentrating on non-crypto-savvy people who find themselves extra snug utilizing platforms with fundamental UI interfaces and fewer crypto jargon to speak.

Earlier this 12 months, Bitmama had fewer than 20,000 customers throughout each platforms. That quantity has grown to greater than 70,000, famous Iselema, including that each merchandise, Bitmama alternate and Changera, have seen huge uptake with minimal advertising. Revenues come from margins on the transactions its customers carry out on the platform.

African blockchain startups raised $91 million within the first quarter of 2022 alone in comparison with $127 million they obtained from traders all through 2021. While new upstarts within the web3 house akin to MARA, Nestcoin and Jambo have grabbed the headlines with new however unproven enterprise fashions, collectively, exchanges and remittance platforms stay probably the most backed within the house, for instance, Afriex, Yellow Card and VALR. Other notable names embody YC-backed Buycoins, Quidax and Busha.

Though Bitmama isn’t among the many continent’s most funded blockchain platforms, Iselema boldly claims it is likely one of the most progressive blockchain corporations round — and the brand new funding will permit it to be extra tenacious on that entrance.

“One thing which is the backbone of Bitmama is that we are very innovative. Since we came into the ecosystem, we’ve been doing many things where we’ve been the first,” she stated. “For instance, we were the first to launch QR codes for offline onboarding. Even when we launched the crypto cards, we were the first to do that. And we have a couple of innovative products we’re bringing out that will be the first in the market, and we want to keep that momentum.”

Currently, Bitmama is engaged on a B2B play the place through APIs, it will possibly help companies in varied industries that need to supply crypto-based providers to their customers with out constructing from scratch. The executives say Bitmama is testing this function with some purchasers in beta.

The blockchain firm will use the pre-seed to broaden its operational presence, strengthen its staff, consolidate its product choices and plot market penetration throughout Africa whereas quickly scaling new use circumstances for cryptocurrency throughout the continent, it stated in a press release.

Managing common associate at pan-African fund Launch Africa stated he sees his agency’s partnership with Bitmama as a solution to permit Africans to commerce and handle cryptocurrencies and digital property conveniently and universally. “This is something that we specifically value in our fund and what Bitmama in particular delivers.”

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