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The Nigerian person-to-person money transfer company, Paga, has secured US$13-million from renowned international investment firms Adlevo Capital, Omidyar Network, Goodwell West Africa, Acumen Fund, and Capricorn Investment Group. Jeremy Stoppelman, the co-Founder and CEO of Yelp, also joined in on the round.
The massive round comes after the six-year-old company has been boasting massive growth rates. Today, Paga is being used by over three million Nigerians — and 3 600 SME clients — who use it to send money to any phone number for the beneficiary to then redeem at a Paga agent or at any ATM via a cardless withdrawal.
Additionally, customers can use the service to deposit money to Nigerian bank accounts, pay bills and top-up mobile phone airtime. Paga offers its services through a network of over 8 850 agents across Nigeria, and is said to have more physical service points than all the bank branches in Nigeria put together.
According to a press release on TechCabal, managing partner at Adlevo Capital (which led the round) Folabi Esan elaborated on the company’s outstanding growth within the last few years:
When Adlevo first invested in Paga in 2012 the company had processed only about 270 000 transactions totalling just over US$15-million in value. The company has experienced an impressive compounded annual growth rate of about 150% since Adlevo invested — today, having processed over 17 million transactions worth over a billion dollars.
Tayo Oviosu, the founder and CEO of Paga, says that this hefty series B round will help the company’s vision of strengthening its agent network and continue to innovate its payment offerings for small businesses:
Effectively, Paga agents will act as human ATMs and bring significant convenience to customers of the banks who need to deposit or withdraw cash from their bank accounts without traveling far or waiting in long lines. This will support the banks in achieving their critical goal of truly reaching the mass market.
US VC Tim Draper — who’s behind investments in Skype, Baidu and Hotmail — has also been an early backer of Paga.