Blockchain payment platform, Bitmama has raised $350,000 pre-seed funding to expand its product offerings into other African countries.
The round was led by San Francisco-based VC, Flori Ventures, with participation from Nigeria-based VCs, Emergence Capital, Fedha Capital, and a host of other Angels and VCs.
Nigerian, Ruth Iselema started the Germany-based startup in 2019. It has since grown to become one of the most important crypto exchanges serving the Nigerian and Ghanaian markets.
Bitmama and the new funding
Bitmama is a highly-secured and fast-growing crypto platform to buy, sell or trade Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Celo and other cryptocurrencies at the best rates.
Currently, the startup’s major products are the Bitmama exchange, which allows users to purchase, sell, and trade cryptocurrencies, and Changera, a cross-border payment solution that allows customers to “transfer and receive money worldwide, purchase airtime or data for relatives and friends, and pay utility bills for loved ones from anywhere in the world.”
Over the last year, Africa has been considered as one of the world’s fastest-growing markets for cryptocurrency adoption. Nigerians were said to have exchanged more than $400 million in cryptocurrencies on local crypto exchanges in 2020, a figure that is likely to rise in 2021.
The usual alternative for cryptocurrencies traders and businesses accepting crypto as payments is peer-2-peer and OTCs which could prove dangerous and unsafe due to scam proliferation. Bitmama’s rigorous 3-tier verification process is designed to ensure the safety of honest traders in the system and inhibition of ingenuine users.
According to Bitmama, it has already registered more than $6 million in transaction volume this year, with over 15,000 users across its two products, a statistic that Iselema claims is rising every day despite the fact that they have done very little promotion.
The new fund will enable Bitmama to grow its operational presence, expand its team, and penetrate new markets across the continent, while rapidly scaling crypto and payment solutions in Africa.
What they are saying
Speaking on the pre-Seed round, Ruth Iselema, Founder & CEO of Bitmama Inc. said, “The rate of crypto adoption in Africa has been surprisingly fast but anticipated. All over Africa, more than 3 million users now perform crypto transactions on the day-to-day. Most importantly, we are thrilled to have strong financial backers with global credibility and track records, who are keen on supporting our mission to ensure crypto and cross-border transactions across Africa are done efficiently and safely for users and businesses.”
Maria Alegre, General Partner and Co-founder of Flori Ventures, says, “We’ve partnered with Bitmama to help them in their growth journey. We are particularly interested in projects that explore universal basic income, community commerce, community currencies, natural-capital-backed currencies, accessible DeFi primitives, earnings platforms, peer-to-peer marketplaces.”
Akin Asalu, COO of Bitmama, believes that challenges precede the best of solutions. “History has proven that complications are paramount to breaking new grounds. Although the blockchain space in Africa is a complex landscape to navigate in terms of regulation and adoption, we can’t ignore the numerous use cases that exist. And as new innovations like 5G push through the continent, even the most remote areas will be willing to explore the diverse opportunities presented by emerging technologies such as blockchain and the possibilities of cryptocurrencies. Bitmama is positioned to drive the awareness and adoption of crypto in Africa. We have distributed a remote team across the continent and we plan to build more blockchain-powered solutions to advance our mission.”
Ibukun Adeleke, Director at Emergence Capital also commented on the raise, “We are proud to partner with Bitmama and are impressed with the significant traction the business has made and continues to make across its key performance parameters including transaction volume & value, number of users, local and international strategic partnerships. We are inspired by the team’s resolve to make financial services more decentralised and accessible for people and companies in Africa with an overarching mission to solve our problems on the continent using blockchain. We are excited for what is to come! Leveraging our experience, partners and relationships, we look forward to working closely with Ruth, Akin and the Bitmama team on their expansion drive across their key target emerging markets and help realize its overall corporate aspirations.”