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Kenya’s BitPesa announces $1.1m investment led by Pantera Capital

Despite recent tales of Bitcoin’s demise, people still seem to be throwing money at startups focusing on the virtual currency, especially in the remittance space.

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Led by Pantera Capital, the Kenyan-based Bitcoin startup, BitPesa, recently secured US$1.1-million (nearly R13-million). Other investors include Bitcoin Opportunity Corp, Crypto Currency Partners,Future/Perfect Ventures and Stephens Investment Management.

In a blog post the company notes that its total equity investment now clocks in US$1.7-million. “We will now be expanding across the region to meet the demand for truly low-cost international transfers,” the company writes. “BitPesa is just one third of the price of banks and traditional remittance companies, and is the only company filling this market gap in East Africa and now Ghana.”

Read more: 6 clever tech startups trying to pop Africa’s remittance bubble

The company joins the ranks of a bunch of other interesting African startups seeking to challenge the current remittance bubble, which is said to account to an estimated US$60-billion.

Founded in 2013, BitPesa is a Bitcoin currency exchange which enables businesses and individuals to convert and send Kenyan Shillings into a Kenyan mobile money wallets such as M-Pesa, Orange, Airtel or Yu. The company earns 3% off transfers from Bitcoin to Kenyan Shillings, but does not charge transfer fees.

Chatting to CoinDesk, BitPesa’s CEO Elizabeth Rossiello explained that the capital comes at a time when the company is looking to grow its team as well as reaching new markets.

“We’ve had our heads down building a solid product, and now we’re hiring to grow. A big part of that is expanding our team to help us grow in other markets where we see the demand,” Rossiello said.

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