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London Tech Week

Backed by Robinhood & Monzo co-founders, Tanzanian fintech NALA banks $10M to create the ‘Transferwise of Africa’

Image credits: NALA

Payments in Africa are only 1% and the Tanzanian fintech NALA wants to here to change that. The cross-border payments company transformed from local to international money transfers.

Expansion plans

Now, NALA has secured $10 million in a seed funding round from Amplo, Accel and Bessemer alongside participation from angel investors including Jonas Templestein, co-founder and CTO of Monzo; Vladimir Tenev, Robinhood co-founder and CEO; Deel founder Alex Bouaziz; Laura Spiekerman, co-founder of Alloy; Peeyush Ranjan, the head of Google Payments and early employees at Revolut and TransferWise.

This investment came almost three years post its pre-seed funding round. The investment will allow NALA to hire more talent and foster growth efforts in the UK, US, and Europe. Also, it will focus on building payment rails in Africa and expand to new countries. It plans to be live in 12 African countries by the end of the year, including Nigeria.

Furthermore, Sheel Tyle, the founder and general partner at Amplo, will join NALA’s board.

“Payments in Africa are one per cent built. It’s 2022 and Africa’s still the most expensive place in the world to send money in and out of. Until this changes we are limited by the opportunities of trade across the continent. Over the next fiivee years, while logistics gets better, more places around the world are going to trade in and out of Africa, we are positioning ourselves to be at the forefront of this change,” said NALA CEO Benjamin Fernandes.

Wants to be ‘Transferwise of Africa’

Now, the super app NALA wants to be positioned as the ‘Transferwise or also Revolut of Africa’. It provides international transfers, thereby allowing payments from the UK to Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, and Ghana. As per the company, over 8,000 customers have transferred over $10 million to various African countries in the past six months. This super app is offering currency exchange, multi-currency bank accounts and peer-to-peer payments without any fees.

Besides this, NALA is beta testing multi-currency accounts that will let African diaspora store their home currencies when abroad. Also, it is working on a pilot to let African people run businesses overseas and make payments to Africa.

Experienced team at NALA

Benjamin Fernandes, the Tanzanian co-founder of NALA, spent a long time talking to locals in the country about their frustrations with mobile money payment services before launching the new payment platform. Using this app, users can make payments to anyone on any device without much hassle.

NALA hired Subuola Abraham, ex-Citi U.K. MLRO and former group chief compliance officer at Guaranty Trust Bank, a pan-African bank to lead its compliance efforts. Also, it struck a deal with Citi Bank Global to manage their F.X. and fast-track growth across multiple regions. Notably, it is one of the few African tech companies to have grabbed this deal. Others in the company’s executive team include Nicolas Esteves (CTO) and Nicolai Eddy (COO) from Monzo, Osper and Morningstar.

Also, NALA plans to launch a crowdfunding campaign in 2022 where its first users will get access to own some shares in the company. Similar companies such as Eversend have made this move to facilitate money transfer in Africa. Other players in the cross-border payments space that enable transfer from the UK to select African countries include Lemonade Finance, Chipper Cash, and Sendwave.

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