Afriex, a Y Combinator-backed startup has closed $1.2 million in seed funding to expand its payments and remittances platform across Africa.
The round was led by Launch Africa and includes Y Combinator, Future Africa, Brightstone VC, Russell Smith, Mandela Dixon, Processus Capital, Uncommon Ventures, A$AP Capital, Furquan Rydhan, Precursor Ventures, Ivernet Holdings, and Andrea Vaccari.
The startup, based in Lagos and San Francisco, was cofounded by Tope Alabi and John Obirije in 2019 to enable immigrants to send money home in a simple and seamless way.
Having experienced firsthand how complicated and expensive the process of transferring money from a bank account abroad to one in Nigeria is, CEO of Afriex, Alabi who was formerly a blockchain developer at Consensys, together with his cofounder set out to find a cost-effective and faster way of doing this.
He said, “We would go back home every two years and even then, I would always take note of what was missing and what could be improved. I would find myself having to pay for foreign expenses with money that was sitting in a US bank account.
“Traditional remittance companies were so slow and expensive that I knew I could do it better with crypto. Remittance is the best and most important use case for crypto. Our goal is to build the world’s largest remittance company, starting with emerging markets.”
How Afriex works
Afriex is a peer-to-peer crypto remittance platform that makes sending money to Africa and Africans in the diaspora easy. It provides its users with instant, zero-fee transfers.
Through its app, the startup allows users to deposit cash, send money to a bank account or another user, and withdraw money to a connected bank or debit card.
In addition to making it easier to receive money from abroad, Afriex’s users in Africa can send money overseas. This it does by purchasing cryptocurrency in one country and selling it in another to offer better exchange rates and faster transfers, a departure from traditional payment systems like Western Union and Wise.
Since its graduation from YC Summer 2020 Cohort, the fintech startup reveals that, on a monthly basis, it processes $500,000 in transaction fees in more than 30 countries.
Having started in Nigeria and the U.S., Afriex is now operational in Ghana, Kenya, and Uganda. With the new funding round, the startup is poised for even more growth as it plans to expand and reach new markets.
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