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Moving money within Africa could, in the future, be as easy as making a phone call, says Gideon Orovwiroro, chief operating officer of Kora, a Nigerian payment infrastructure start-up.
Speaking to Ventureburn following Kora’s expansion to the United Kingdom, Orovwiroro revealed that the demand for Kora’s high-fidelity payment infrastructure was also rapidly growing in Africa.
Its cross-border product is already available for business across 25 African countries, adds Orovwiroro. “Some of the popular ones are Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda. We are looking to unlock our Kenyan payment sometime this quarter,” he says.
As a Techstars-backed company, Kora raised an initial pre-seed investment from the global investment business in 2019. While Orovwiroro confirms that Kora does not intend fundraising anytime soon, there is great excitement about their new UK office.
He says, “Located at the heart of the UK’s fastest-growing region in terms of technology, Birmingham was chosen as [the city to host] Kora’s first UK office because of its solid infrastructure and ease of access to talent.”
Kora partnered with the Birmingham city council to power its expansion via the West Midlands Growth Company, a regional investment promotion and economic development agency.
Orovwiroro adds, “Our ambition, from day one, has been to make Africa open from a financial standpoint, and our UK office is an important next step for us. We are excited to have a partner in the West Midlands Growth Company whose ambition is aligned with ours; to remove barriers for local and global commerce.”
Kora powers global businesses
Founded in Nigeria in 2018 to help Africans in the diaspora make remittances into Africa, the start-up has since allowed global companies to scale rapidly across the continent. With a single integration, Kora powers businesses to accept pay-ins, pay-outs and settle across popular payment channels.
“We saw a bigger problem around how money moves within Africa and we have since evolved into a payment infrastructure, allowing both local and global businesses to process payments in and out of Africa,” explains Orovwiroro.
Earlier in 2022, Kora received its commercial PSSP license from the Central Bank of Nigeria, further empowering the company to drive its vision of creating open standards for payments across Africa.
As a pan-African payment infrastructure company, companies like GiG, Juice Africa, Dlocal and PayFuture already use Kora’s bouquet of products to power their African operations.
“What we are building at Kora is very simple,” says Orovwiroro. “We are building a payment infrastructure to help global businesses go local in Africa, and local African businesses go global.”