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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Invests In Chipper Cash In Latest African FinTech VC Deal

African cross-border fintech startup Chipper Cash has raised a $30 million Series B funding round led by Ribbit Capital with the participation of Bezos Expeditions — the personal VC fund of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

Chipper CEO Ham Serunjogi confirmed on Twitter the startup, which got its initial foothold in the market as a peer-to-peer (P2P) payments service, has just wrapped up a $30 million Series B round of venture capital.

And among the investors was none other than multi-billionaire Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, who participated through Bezos Expeditions, his personal venture capital fund.

Chipper Cash was founded in San Francisco in 2018 by Ugandan Ham Serunjogi and Ghanaian Maijid Moujaled. The company offers mobile-based, no fee, P2P payment services in seven countries: Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Africa and Kenya.

Parallel to its P2P app, the startup also runs Chipper Checkout — a merchant-focused, fee-based payment product that generates the revenue to support Chipper Cash’s free mobile-money business. The company has scaled to 3 million users on its platform and processes an average of 80,000 transactions daily. In June 2020, Chipper Cash reached the value of a monthly payment of $100 million, according to CEO Ham Serunjogi.

As part of the Series B raise, the startup plans to expand its products and geographic scope. On the product side, that entails offering more business payment solutions, cryptocurrency trading options, and investment services.

Chipper brought home its first round of investor cash last year, with a $2.4 million seed round headed by Deciens Capital last May, followed by an additional $6 million seed round in December.

That was followed by a $13.8 million Series A round in July that featured Deciens and Raptor Group.

Armed with the cash infusion, the startup announced plans last summer to hire 30 staff members around the world.

Chipper, though, is just the latest African FinTech to attract the attention of investors.

African FinTechs attracted $2 billion in venture capital money in 2019, according to Face2Face Africa.

And the investments have kept coming in 2020.

Stripe, the U.S.-based payments firm, acquired Nigerian startup Paystack, while DPO Group, a FinTech out of Nairobi, fetched $288 million from Network International in Dubai.

And that’s not all, as remittance company Sendwave, whose business is centred on Africa, was bought for $500 million by WorldRemit, an online money transfer company out of the United Kingdom, according to Face2Face Africa.

Jeff Bezos’s backing of Chipper Cash follows a recent string of events that has elevated the visibility of Africa’s startup scene. Over the past decade, the continent’s tech ecosystem has been one of the fastest-growing in the world by year year-over-year expansion in venture capital and startup formation, concentrated in countries such as Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa.

Chipper Cash founder Ham Serunjogi believes the backing of his company by a notable tech figure, such as Jeff Bezos (the world’s richest person), has benefits beyond his venture.

“It’s a big deal when a world-class investor like Bezos or Ribbit goes out of their sweet spot to a new area where they previously haven’t done investments,” he said. “Ultimately, the winner of those things happening in the African tech ecosystem overall, as it will bring more investment from firms of that calibre to African startups.”

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