Thepeer, an API-based startup that connects African businesses, raises $ 2.1 million, led by Raba Partnership – TechCrunch

Thepeer, an African technology infrastructure start-up linking business portfolios, has raised an initial $ 2.1 million round, led by the Raba partnership. The news comes a year after the startup raised $ 220,000 in preload from a handful of angel investors, including Paystack CTO Ezra Olubi and Edenlife CTO Prosper Otemuiva.

Participating investors in the initial round of Thepeer include Rali_cap Ventures, Timon Capital, BYLD Ventures, Musha Ventures, Sunu and Uncovered Fund. African fintech companies Chipper Cash and Stitch have also invested.

Thepeer is not a pure fintech game; he sits at the intersection of data and finance. The problems, however Kosisochukwu Chike Ononye and Michael the Trojan Okoh they wanted to decide, when they first launched the company in August 2021, they affected fintech more than any other segment. Like other API-based startups, Thepeer feeds the infrastructure primarily to fintech businesses, from small to medium-sized businesses.

Last year the number of African fintech companies increased by 17.3% to 573, from 491 in 2019, according to the local publication Disrupt Africa. Most of these fintech companies take care of business and consumers by offering various services such as payments, non-banking, lending, investing and trading. Although they provide digital wallets to facilitate remittances, there is a lack of interoperability of mobile wallets outside their ecosystem; essentially moving money from one fintech wallet to another fintech or non-fintech wallet (in the case of a built-in financial game) is difficult.

Thepeer says its APIs provide an alternative network in which fintech and businesses can embed different sets of products in their applications and websites to easily cash in on their customers.

somethingThe proposal, which launches, allows customers of companies that integrate with its APIs, such as Eversend (cross-border fintech) and Nguvu Health (a teletherapy platform), to send money across both platforms using identifiers such as email or usernames.

“I made a purchase from a vendor and couldn’t pay after using several apps and couldn’t move money from one wallet where I had money to another,” said Chief Executive Officer Ononie, explaining why he and CTO Oko set up the company before TechCrunch in an interview. “After we released our first product [Send], we went back to the drawing board because there were things we had to fix. In the process, we found more consumer and business issues. ”

After sending, Thepeer partners with Flutterwave – the unicorn, whose API gateways are the most extensive in Africa for mobile wallets and bank accounts – and built on its platform to gain more reach. The partnership helped launch two additional B2B2C products: Direct Charge and Checkout.

Direct charging allows clients of about 15 businesses to finance their portfolios from each other. Here’s how it works. As a user of Nguvu Health, there are various methods of financing a portfolio, such as cards and bank transfers; Thepeer is another option. So when Nguvu Health users choose Thepeer, they can select each of the 15 wallets, integrate them with their Nguvu Health wallet, and initiate a direct billing transaction.

“One amazing thing about Thepeer is that it makes it easier for people to pay for therapy in the Nguvu Health app, which makes it easy and affordable for Africans to access therapy from their smartphones,” Nguvu Health CEO Joshua Koya said of Thepeer’s integration. “Our customers already have options with integrating Thepeer with other fintech portfolios where they can pay for therapy.”

However, Checkout works in a similar way on company websites such as online food and clothing stores. Thepeer is shown as a payment method when customers shop online and allows them to pay for items from Bitsika, Eversend, Chipper Cash and Paga wallets.

The one-year fintech startup has recorded an average monthly increase in transactions of 161% since its launch. And with the launch of Send, its new product, focused on helping businesses send money to each other through the dashboard (not the consumer), its monthly transaction volume has grown more than 65 times to “eight-digit” million dollars.

“We see our product as an API-driven platform that helps connect fintech, consumers and businesses by offering seamless cash flow,” Ononye said. “Today, there are nearly 600 fintech companies across the continent, most of which operate closed portfolios. Our goal is to make it possible to connect and make payments from any portfolio. We are building an operating system so that companies can offer more services to their customers. ”

What started as a challenge for founders who move value around their various applications has become an infrastructure with integrated businesses and providing more value to its users. This progression led the Raba Partnership to lead the circle. In a statement, George Zhepetsky, its founder, compared Thepeer’s move to unify the portfolio portfolio in Africa with the way Flutterwave entered the fragmented space for card and mobile payments in 2015.

“With the proliferation of consumer and B2B fintech across Africa, Thepeer is building a core payment layer based on the API, where fintech can enable money to flow initially from their respective portfolios and applications,” he continued. “We are incredibly excited to support this ambitious team building a next-generation network.”

Thepeer continues Raba Partnership’s long list of fintech investments in Africa. Although it has invested in some consumer platforms such as Thndr and JamoRaba is a well-known supporter of infrastructure plays such as Flutterwave, Yoko, StitchAxis Pay and OnePipe.

What’s next for Thepeer? According to Ononye, ​​the startup is looking to expand more functionality and portfolios in other currencies (its current platform deals with Naira portfolios), as well as to hire more talent and invest in product development. “Our focus remains on product innovation and serving our customers operating in different geographical areas,” he said.

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