PawaPay a UK-Africa payments company has secured $9 million in seed funding to scale its operational presence, expand into new markets, and recruit new talent in a round led by British 88mph fund, China-based MSA Capital, with participation from Kepple Ventures, Zagadat Capital, and Vunani Capital. PawaPay spun off of online sportsbetting company betPawa and led by Nikolai Barnwell (CEO), who was betPawa’s former head of New Markets.
As per World Bank 2015 figures, the 350 million unbanked people across sub-Saharan Africa are a significant market for financial services players. Most of these unbanked people barely earn minimum wage and makes it hard for banks to consider them a financially viable demographic. Simple tasks like opening bank accounts involve several unattractive Know Your Customer processes that lock them out.
Despite this reality, most unbanked users have mobile phones where telecom operators through proxies can bypass those banks to create systems allowing people to transfer money securely through their mobile phones for little or no transfer fees. This means mobile phone users can still access basic financial services – such as savings and transfers. Last year, registered mobile money accounts in sub-Saharan Africa rose by 11.9%.
Founded in 2020, PawaPay helps global companies accept payments on African consumer terms – the mobile phone. It takes technical integrations from regional telecom companies like MTN, AirteTigo, Econet, Safaricom, MTN, Vodafone, and Orange, collapsing them into a single business API.