Paga, a mobile money company in Nigeria, said it has closed a $10 million growth financing deal, led by the Global Innovation Fund, with existing investors like Goodwell (managed by Alitheia Capital), Adlevo Capital, Omidyar Network and Unreasonable Capital, participating.
The new financing brings the total Paga has raised since inception in 2009 to $35 million, having served nine million customers and created more than 10,000 jobs through its 17,000 agents network, which also hire staff to run their stores.The growth financing will enable Paga further scale its business in Nigeria to drive growth of Paga’s mobile wallet and agent network, and explore expansion opportunities in other markets where similar problems exist.
The Chief Executive Officer of GIF, Alix Peterson Zwane, said he is proud to lead Paga’s Series B2 round of investment. “Paga’s mission of helping people ‘make life possible’ aligns with our core mission of supporting entrepreneurs and innovators that seek to improve the lives of those living on less than $5 per day. I am pleased that GIF will help enable Paga’s next phase.”
Nigeria is one of the fastest growing emerging markets in the world, the biggest economy in Africa with $405 billion GDP and projected to be the third largest country in the world by 2050 with 411 million people.
Today, over 100 million adults find it difficult to transfer or leverage money for basic human needs and exists even for those that are banked, which is something Paga’s team is passionate about finding a solution.
“Our belief in Paga as an effective platform to drive financial inclusion is unwavering. Paga has shown solid progress and alongside other investments in our portfolio has played a huge role in our ability to demonstrate that enabling access to essential services for the broad population has both significant financial and developmental impact,” the Managing Partner at Alitheia Capital, ‘Tokunboh Ishmael, said.
With a nationwide network of 17,000 agents and more than nine million users accessing funds in Nigeria, Paga is making strides by enabling efficient digital payments and building successful societies.
This has translated to over 57 million transactions processed, worth approximately $3.6 billion, a business that is profitable, and growing at 110% compounded annual growth rate (2016-2018).“At Paga, we are building an ecosystem that enables people to digitally send and receive money, and creating simple financial access for everyone,” Tayo Oviosu, said.
“We do not seek to be a bank, but rather to partner with banks and financial institutions in the markets we operate. We are proud to welcome the Global Innovation Fund as a partner on our journey.“We were attracted to them because of their global focus, network to help us achieve our ambition, and a clear alignment of values. It is also fantastic that our existing investors remain committed to our strategy and are demonstrating that by their additional investments,” he added.
Paga’s mission, he said, is strengthened by the recent release of its new money transfer app that will drive use of the Paga wallet for person-to-person transfers and in-store payments.
In a country where digital financial services still leave much to be desired, Paga is staking a claim at being the Venmo of Nigeria.With cash still being king in emerging markets, and the general unreliability of POS services coupled with the sparsely located Banks and ATM’s, the company has created a viable solution for ease of payments: a simple app that allows you to send money to or request money from anyone only using their phone number or email address and a digital wallet to which you can link any debit card or bank account.
In this sense, Paga is acting as a facilitator to provide a swift and reliable payment gateway for your already existing financial accounts. This reinforces the idea that Paga is seeking to be the reliable access point to all relevant financial services for all people.