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Africa focused payment startup PalmPay has launched in Nigeria after raising a $40 million seed-round led by Chinese mobile-phone maker Transsion.
The investment came via Transsion’s Tecno subsidiary, with participation from China’s NetEase and Taiwanese wireless comms hardware firm Mediatek — a Transsion spokesperson confirmed to TechCrunch.
PalmPay - Offering - Nigeria - July - Today
PalmPay had piloted its mobile fintech offering in Nigeria since July, before going live today at a launch in Lagos.
The startup aims to become Africa’s largest financial services platform, according to a statement.
Part - Investment - PalmPay - Partnership - Brands
As part of the investment, PalmPay enters a strategic partnership with mobile brands Tecno, Infinix, and Itel that includes pre-installation of the startup’s app on 20 million phones in 2020.
The UK headquartered venture — that was also founded with Chinese seed investment — offers a package of mobile based financial services, including no fee payment options, bill pay, rewards programs, and discounted airtime.
Nigeria - PalmPay - % - Cashback - Airtime
In Nigeria, PalmPay will offer 10% cashback on airtime purchases and bank transfer rates as low as 10 Naira ($.02).
In addition to Nigeria, PalmPay will use the $40 million seed funding to grow its financial services business in Ghana. The payments startup has plans to expand to additional countries in 2020, PalmPay CEO Greg Reeve told TechCrunch on a call.
PalmPay - Approval - Central - Bank - Money
PalmPay received its approval from the Nigerian Central Bank as a licensed mobile money operator in July. During its pilot phase, the payments venture registered 100,000 users and processed 1 million transactions, according to a company spokesperson.
With its payments focus, the startup enters Africa’s most promising digital sector, but also one that has become notably competitive and crowded — particularly in the continent’s largest economy and most populous nation of Nigeria.
Number - Estimates - Africa - People - Share
By a number of estimates, Africa’s 1.2 billion people represent the largest share of the world’s unbanked and underbanked population.
An improving smartphone and mobile-connectivity profile for Africa (see GSMA) turns...
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