Africa-focused payment startup PalmPay raised a $100 million Series A round last year. TechCrunch spotted this news in Partech Africa’s latest year-end report on venture capital investments in Africa.
Further checks in Crunchbase and Tracxn – platforms that track funding rounds in startups and private companies worldwide – reveal that the company closed the round in August 2021.
PalmPay entered the payments world of Nigeria in June 2019. Five months later, it launched with a $40 million seed round — the largest of its kind on the continent — from Chinese investors such as Chinese phone maker Transsion through its Tecno subsidiary, NetEase, and wireless communications hardware company Mediatek.
The UK-headquartered startup also took money from Chinese investors for its Series A round, the second largest of its kind after unicorn Wave’s $200 million. Investors participating in the round include China-based Chuangshi Capital, Yunshi Equity Investment ManagementTrust Capital, Chengyu Capital and private equity fund AfricaInvest.
PalmPay offers various financial services to individual consumers and merchants. It provides merchants, through the PalmPartner app, online payment and offline POS acquisition services and plans to introduce digital marketing services soon. There is a range of services for consumers, including: free payment options, cheap transfers, bill payments, rewards programs and reduced airtime.
Since its launch in Nigeria in 2019, PalmPay has expanded to Ghana and serves more than 5 million users, per information on its website. According to According to some sources, PalmPay’s monthly transaction volume exceeded $100 million in June 2021. Crucial to PalmPay’s growth, at least in Nigeria, is its partnership with Chinese mobile brands Tecno, Infinx and itel, which will include pre-installation of the startup app on 20 million phones in 2019, according to TechCrunch’s report.
PalmPay said in a 2019 statement that it was working towards becoming Africa’s largest financial services platform. That’s why it made the breakthrough to Ghana. But there is still more work to be done to become the dominant player in a mobile payment space that is seriously heating up. For example, IIts main competition, SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and Sequoia Capital China-backed-OPay has 8 million users with monthly transaction volumes in excess of $3 billion, per information from the latest funding round. The unicorn is present in Nigeria and Egypt.
This round was part of mega-equity rounds that closed last year in Africa, including Flutterwave, TymeBank, Chipper Cash, OPay, Andela, Wave, MNT-Halan, JUMO.
More to follow…