Bitmama, an African blockchain startup, has raised $350,000 in a pre-seed funding to grow its operational presence, expand its team, and enter new markets across Africa. The round was led by San Francisco-based VC and Flori Ventures and had the participation of Nigeria-based investment fund Emergence Capital, Fedha Capital, as well as a host of VCs and angel investors.
Bitmama provides a highly-secured crypto platform to buy, sell or trade Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Celo and other cryptocurrencies at the best rates. The platform enables the exchange and sale of cryptocurrencies and cross-border payments transactions. Its cross-border payment offering, Changera, allows users to send and receive money internationally, purchase airtime and data and also pay utility bills from anywhere in the world. The Germany-based startup was founded in 2019 by Ruth Iselema, a Nigerian, and has since grown to become one of the most important crypto exchanges serving the Nigerian and Ghanaian markets.
Africa, over the last year, has been considered as one of the worlds fastest-growing markets for cryptocurrency adoption. All over Africa, more than 3 million users now perform crypto transactions on the day-to-day. Statistics showed that Nigerians exchanged more than $400 million in cryptocurrencies on local crypto exchanges in 2020, a figure that has now likely increased.
In Nigeria, where cryptocurrency is banned by the government, Bitmama, like other crypto exchange platforms, has managed to start afloat by operating the peer to peer model. To prevent scams and ensure a secure process, Bitmama employs a rigorous 3-tier verification process. According to Bitmama, it has already registered more than $6 million in transaction volume this year, with over 15,000 users across its two offerings.
Speaking on the pre-Seed round, Ruth Iselema, Founder &Chief Executive Officer of Bitmama Inc. said that the startup was 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 mentioned that their investment in Bitmama was a result of the venture capitals interest in their operations. “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”.
With the newly acquired funds, the startup hopes to grow its operational presence and expand into new markets across the continent. Chief Executive Ruth Iselema also said that Bitmama will be looking to support the Blockchain ecosystem and developers via hackathons, and opening up its wallet API to allow developers to build new products on it.