Africa’s VertoFX bags $10 mn; Sun Exchange, Edves get early-stage cheques

 Africa’s VertoFX bags $10 mn; Sun Exchange, Edves get early-stage cheques

VertoFX, a UK- and Nigeria-based business-to-business payments platform, has raised $10 million in a Series A round of funding led by fintech investor Quona Capital.

The Treasury, Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP), TMT Investments, Unicorn Growth Capital, Zrosk Investments and P1 Ventures also pitched in. The firm’s previous investors include Y Combinator, Accelerated Digital Ventures and Ace & Company.

VertoFX enables small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to make payments to their suppliers in more than 39 currencies across 200 countries.

Besides building its platform, the company plans to use the money to accelerate its geographical expansion into other emerging markets in Africa.

The startup was launched three years ago by Nigerian co-founders Ola Oyetayo and Anthony Oduwole, who had previously worked at UK banks. It aims to solve the problem of international payments, especially in emerging markets where local currencies are less familiar and less liquid than those of more developed economies.

“Using Verto’s three main products (Payments, Exchange and Multi-Currency account), business owners can now send cross-border B2B payments at FX rates up to nine times cheaper than they could through traditional banks,” said Ola Oyetayo, co-founder and CEO of Verto.

“With Verto wallets, businesses can hold money with us in 39 currencies and make instant cross-border payments to other companies on the Verto network in real-time,” he said. “While traditional peer-to-peer payment platforms often have transaction limits, the Verto platform facilitates payment volumes that are appropriate for MSMEs.”

Sun Exchange

Cape Town-based startup Sun Exchange, which operates a peer-to-peer solar leasing platform, has raised $2.5 million via a convertible note investment from existing investor ARCH Emerging Markets Partners Ltd’s Africa Renewable Power Fund (ARPF).

This follows $4 million in a Series A funding round last year, led by a $3 million investment from ARPF.

“The latest investment enables us to continue scaling our success using our crowd-based solar leasing platform to facilitate solar power for small-to-medium organisations in Sub-Saharan Africa,” Sun Exchange said. “This is the segment most impacted by rising energy costs, unreliable grid infrastructure and costly backup diesel generators.”

So far, six-year-old Sun Exchange has facilitated solar power for 45 businesses, schools, farms and other organisations in southern Africa.

Edves

Nigerian ed-tech startup Edves has raised a seed funding round worth $575,000 led by Beta.Ventures with participation of Launch Africa Ventures, Chinook Capital and Future Africa.

The five-year-old startup offers an academic portal that automates operations in schools and colleges. It seeks to reduce teacher and administrator workload and gives them opportunities to mark attendance and prepare classroom lessons using AI algorithms. Edves is active in around 800 schools across Nigeria, Ghana and Zimbabwe.

Zachariah George, managing partner at Launch Africa Ventures, said that schools in the continent need easy-to-use, secure learner management software that encompasses all their needs and address challenges related to capturing data and paperwork.

“With its proprietary technology, presence in three countries and nearly 800 institutions already onboard in Nigeria alone, we feel very confident in the Edves team’s ability to tackle this huge opportunity head-on.”

Vivek Sinha

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