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Jeff Bezos Invests in African Fintech Startup Chipper Cash

Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos speaks after receiving the 2019 International Astronautical Federation (IAF) Excellence in Industry Award during the the 70th International Astronautical Congress at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC on October 22, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

 

Jeff Bezos’s personal VC fund has joined a $30 million Series B funding round for African cross-border payments startup Chipper Cash.

Bezos Expeditions joined a round led by Ribbit Capital for Chipper Cash, which was founded in San Francisco in 2018 by Ugandan Ham Serunjogi and Ghanaian Maijid Moujaled.

Currently available in seven African countries – Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda – as well as the UK, Chipper Cash is a mobile app that lets people transfer money across borders, fast and cheaply. On its website, the startup claims to have three million users, making 80,000 transactions a day.

Serunjogi tells TechCrunch that Chipper will use the funding to expand into new countries as well as introduce new services, including letting users invest in stocks and buy cryptocurrency.

The funding round is the latest big money backing for an African payments firm. In October, Stripe bought Lagos-based payments firm Paystack in a deal reportedly worth more than $200 million.

Last year Visa bought a ‘significant’ minority equity stake in Nigerian payments processor Interswitch in a deal that propelled the African firm into Unicorn territory. In the same year, Mastercard-backed e-commerce specialist Jumia went public, listing on the Nyse.

Serunjogi tells TechCrunch: “It’s a big deal when a world class investor like Bezos or Ribbit goes out of their sweet spot to a new area where they previously haven’t done investments. Ultimately, the winner of those things happening is the African tech ecosystem overall, as it will bring more investment from firms of that caliber to African startups.”