Zambia’s Union54 tops up seed round; Elloe, Nessiam, Rise get early cheques

 Zambia’s Union54 tops up seed round; Elloe, Nessiam, Rise get early cheques

Zambian fintech Union54 has raised $12 million in a seed extension round led by existing investor Tiger Global with the participation of Vibe VC, Earl Grey Capital and Not Boring Capital.

This comes six months after the startup raised $3 million in seed funding from investors led by Tiger Global. At the time, Runa Capital, Ace & Company, Todd & Rahul Angel Fund, Vibe VC and some angel investors had also invested.

Union54 helps companies with an API to issue debit cards to customers, employees and other stakeholders without needing a bank or a third-party processor. It had previously become the first startup from the country to join the global accelerator Y Combinator.

The startup was co-founded by Perseus Mlambo and Alessandra Martini last year. The husband-wife duo had previously floated another startup, a money management app called Zazu Africa that had also raised some funding from a crowdfunding platform.

Union54 claims it has issued over 500,000 virtual debit cards to customers and is believed to be clocking monthly revenues of around $100,000, close to 1% of the value of amounts processed. It is now positioning itself to become an alternative to Mastercard and Visa.


Kenyan conversational e-commerce startup Elloe has secured $1 million in pre-seed funding round led by the Philippines-based Mad Ventures to help it expand across its home market and in emerging markets in Southeast Asia.

Founded by Owen Sakawa, Elloe allows small businesses to buy and sell products online across any messaging platform.


Moroccan lingerie e-commerce site Nessiam has raised $306,000 from CDG Invest, the CDG Group’s investment arm, as part of its 212 Founders programme. The 212 Founders programme has now completed 12 seed and Series A financing deals totalling 57 million dirhams ($5.8 million) since 2019.

Founded in 2021 by Mohammed Damiri and Hamza Aouadi, Nessiam is planning to establish other product lines such as swimwear and accessories in the near future.


Nigerian startup has secured $150,000 in a pre-seed round from unnamed investors, and is now looking to expand to other parts of the continent.

Founded in 2019 by Olawunmi Oyedeji, offers artisans and vendors that use its platform access to a dashboard that allows them to advertise and promote their services or products packed with a payment system.

Vivek Sinha

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