Nigeria is one of the biggest economies in Africa and the largest in the sub-Saharan region, but it is only just getting into digitizing commerce through fintech Companies like Paystack founded by Shola Akinlade and Ezra Olubi who work as CEO & CTO respectively, they were the first start-up in Nigeria to enter Y Combinator.
The incubator has helped the company lead it’s series A funding of $8 million with strategic investors Visa, Stripe, and Tencent (Tencent also invested in Paystack’s previous round: the startup has raised $10 million to date.) Paystack provides online payment facilities to merchants and others by way of their API, focusing on integrating a wide range of payment options that Nigerians (and soon, those in other countries in Africa) will use both to accept payments and make them and making each of them equally easy to use.
Paystack allows payment options by using payment cards, bank transfers and recently got approval to use USSD-based services. The start-up reports the total amount it’s processed monthly is now at over $20 million with Paystack getting 1.5 percent on every transaction.
The company is active today in Nigeria, where its payment API integrates with tens of thousands of businesses, and in two years it has grown to process 15 percent of all online payments; and the plan is to both continue to grow in its home country, as well as expand to more, starting with Ghana. “The Paystack founders are highly technical, fanatically customer oriented, and unrelentingly impatient. We’re excited to back such people in one of the world’s fastest-growing regions,” says Patrick Collison, CEO of Stripe, in a statement.
“It takes a lot of local nuances to build for African businesses. Paystack seems to be the only one doing this.” – Shola Akinlade, the CEO of Paystack
According to the World Bank, mobile money is the fastest-growing route to financial inclusion across Africa: while the share of adults with bank accounts in sub-Saharan Africa has remained flat, the number of those using mobile money have increased by over 20 percent.