African crypto exchange Yellow Card bags $15 mn; Senegal’s Yobante nets $1.2 mn

 African crypto exchange Yellow Card bags $15 mn; Senegal’s Yobante nets $1.2 mn

Pan-African cryptocurrency exchange Yellow Card has raised $15 million in Series A funding, the largest ever by an African cryptocurrency exchange, to ramp up hiring and continue its expansion across the continent.

The round was led by Valar Ventures, Third Prime and Castle Island Ventures, Yellow Card said in a statement.

Other investors that joined the round include Square, Inc., Ventures, Coinbase Ventures, Polychain Capital, BlockFi, Fabric Ventures, Raba Partnership, MoonPay, and GreenHouse Capital.

Chris Maurice, co-founder and CEO of Yellow Card, said: “Our mission has always been to make cryptocurrency accessible anywhere and everywhere across the African continent. Now, we have the backing to make that a reality, alongside an amazing team of investors who share our vision.”

Since launching in Nigeria in 2018, the US- and Africa-based Yellow Card team has sought to make cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and USDT Stablecoin accessible to anyone in Africa. The company now claims to have the largest geographical footprint on the continent, with a presence in 12 countries. It has 110 employees across 16 countries, and has recorded a nearly 30-fold increase in users across Africa since the start of the pandemic.

“Africa is poised to benefit tremendously from cryptocurrency’s potential to transform financial services,” Valar Ventures’ James Fitzgerald said. “What cemented the deal is their multi-national team, which we believe has the local knowledge, technical expertise, and unequivocal passion to address the basic financial services needs of the continent.”

Yobante Express

Senegal’s Yobante Express, an online marketplace connecting local couriers with merchants to optimise domestic, cross-border and last-mile delivery, has raised $1.2 million in a bridge funding and pre-Series A round.

The three-year-old venture raised the funding even as it is in talks to close a Series A round soon. The latest funding comes from Grenfell Holdings, Launch Africa Ventures, R-Ventures, Libertad’s Aguila Investments and a bunch of angel investors.

The startup and is present across half a dozen countries including Senegal, South Africa, Nigeria, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Ghana.

Co-founder and chief executive officer Oumar Basse told Disrupt Africa publication that the startup had an annual revenue run rate of $8 million.

Vivek Sinha

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