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Nigeria’s Grey raises $2M for cross-border payments play and regional expansion

The availability of digital overseas financial institution accounts has turn into a standard technique for fintechs to allow Nigerians and Africans to facilitate worldwide transfers. Within the newest improvement, Grey, a fintech on this class that gives digital worldwide financial institution accounts to African freelancers and distant staff, is saying that it has raised $2 million in seed funding.

Idorenyin Obong and Femi Aghedo founded Grey in July 2020 as an instant exchange service to help Nigerians exchange foreign currencies in their domiciliary account for local money — the naira. Last year, the startup raised an undisclosed pre-seed investment and got accepted into YC’s winter batch this March.

The YC-backed Nigerian fintech has since expanded into East Africa, beginning with Kenya. CEO Obong advised Thealike that partnerships with two firms in Kenya: funds big Cellulant and edtech upstart Moringa accompanied the transfer. 

“We went with Cellulant to energy our fee infrastructure for Kenyan shillings,” stated the chief government. “Moringa is like an avenue and channel for coaching new tech expertise, so it made sense to have such a partnership as we try to construct this for freelancers.”

Thus, customers in Nigeria and Kenya can obtain overseas funds from over 88 nations utilizing USD, GBP, and EUR financial institution accounts created on the platform, convert them into their native currencies (naira and shilling) and withdraw on to their cellular cash or native checking account. They will additionally ship cash to the UK and Europe on the platform. Gray has additionally upped its performance to assist payouts in one other East African foreign money: Ugandan shillings, bringing the full variety of supported currencies to 6. Though it’s but to launch within the nation, Obong stated Uganda is in Gray’s regional purview in addition to fellow East African nation Tanzania; the fintech will broaden into the latter inside a month, he added.

Gray claims to have about 100,000 particular person customers, and for the reason that starting of the yr, its transaction volumes have elevated by 200%. COO Aghedo stated the corporate privately launched a business-focused product, Gray Enterprise, to enrich this consumer-facing progress and prolong its product past remittances and person-to-person funds.  

The shortage of interoperability between African currencies is one motive companies on the continent use the greenback to pay each other as an alternative of native currencies. Platforms like Verto, a world B2B funds platform that enables African companies to make worldwide funds through multicurrency wallets, are tackling this drawback. With its Gray Enterprise product, the one-year-old fintech intends to faucet into the market and supply a less expensive choice to ship and obtain cash throughout the continent, notably for micro and small companies.

Gray Enterprise has been in non-public beta for the final two months and the seed funding will assist to launch it publicly throughout Nigeria and Kenya. Traders within the spherical embrace enterprise companies akin to Y Combinator, Soma Capital, Heirloom Fund, and True Tradition Fund and angels like Alan Rutledge, Samvit Ramadurgam and Karthik Ramakrishnan. Startups providing related companies embrace the likes of Techstars-backed PayDay.

“Gray was based to empower individuals to reside a location-independent life-style. “I consider that the least of your worries as a freelancer, distant employee, or digital nomad needs to be sending or receiving funds, so we’ve made it straightforward,” stated the CEO. “We wish to say that we’re on a mission to make worldwide funds as straightforward as sending an electronic mail. We wish to do impactful work to enhance how Africa as a continent interacts with cash throughout its borders.”

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