PalmPay launches in Nigeria, raises $40m from China




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 wireless comms hardware firm Mediatek — a Transsion spokesperson confirmed to TechCrunch.

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.

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.
In Nigeria, PalmPay will offer 10 per cent 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 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.

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