• Paystack has raised $8 million in Series A funding from global payment giants, Stripe, Visa, and Tencent

Paystack has raised $8 million in Series A funding from global payment giants, Stripe, Visa, and Tencent, a follow-up from the $1.3 million it raised in 2016 from both international and local investors.

This is huge for a company that started a little over 2 years ago. In that time, Paystack has embedded itself deep into the Nigerian payments ecosystem, processing about 15% of online transactions in Africa’s largest economy, according to Kola Aina, a venture capitalist and partner at Ventures Platform.

In the two years since operations began, Paystack has consistently experienced double-digit growth.

This new round of funding will go into expanding the company’s operations in Africa. Ghana is the first landing pod, Shola Akinlade, Paystack’s CEO tells me. He adds that the goal remains the same, “to make it easier for business to make payments.”

As simple as that sounds, it is not a very straightforward task in Nigeria for businesses, small and large, to send and receive money. More so, it was not always as (relatively) smooth as it is now. Before Paystack, the payments infrastructure in Nigeria made it so that the process was both cumbersome and uncertain.

In the past, it could take businesses up to 30 minutes to make money transfers. Now, it is a matter of seconds. But even with that, there is still a lot of work to be done. There are gaps that need plugging and holes that need filling. This is evident in the amount of investment that has come into the Nigerian fintech space recently.

For example, within three months in 2018, investors pumped $73.7 million into Nigerian startups. 75% of that funding went to fintech startups. But as important as the amount of funding that Nigerian fintech startups have received is, more crucial in Paystack’s case is the elite nature of their headline investors -- Stripe, Visa, and Tencent.

When I ask Shola how they were able to attract these kinds of investors. “Everyone understands the potential of the African market,” he says.

“They understand the problem [of payments] and appreciate the progress Paystack has made in the last 2 years.” It follows, then, that they would invest in a progressive industry within a potentially massive market. After all, the wisest investors know very well to play the long game.

Then I ask him what this new investment says about the fintech space and what it means panoramically. He replies that it gives other founders something to aspire to, that it shows the potential and capacity of the market. It also means that there’s a lot more attention from Silicon Valley now, attention that was somewhat validated by Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg’s visit to Lagos in 2016.

Kola Aina echoes Shola’s thoughts. “It is true that this space has seen a lot of funding but, it is still underexplored, with much room for expansion. In Paystack’s case, this new round of funding will open up a world of possibilities for businesses. On a broader level, this investment sends a positive signal to other investors who are still sceptical about our market,” he tells me.

Also from Business Insider Sub-Sahara Africa: