Ham Serunjogi, a Ugandan from a solid home, remembers the difficulties his father faced in transferring funds to him to pay for his swimming lessons. According to Forbes, he had been chosen for the Ugandan Youth Olympic squad at the time, and his father had to travel to South Africa to pay his swim instructor in cash while they were practicing there.
Serunjogi came to Iowa, United States, for his university studies, when he met Maijid Moujaled, a Ghanaian computer science major who was organizing a popular coding group, at Grinnell College.
As their connection grew, they brainstormed methods to make sending money to Africa not only cheaper but also more convenient. They launched a test version of Chipper Cash in 2018 with $30,000 and Moujaled’s salary as a software engineer, allowing clients to transmit money from Uganda to Ghana for free.
They pitched their startup to more than 50 VC firms in the weeks following the introduction of the test version of Chipper Cash. 500 Startups agreed to invest $150,000 in November 2018.
Chipper Cash was available in Uganda, Ghana, Kenya, and Rwanda by 2019, and it quickly extended to Nigeria, a hub for African internet entrepreneurs.
Chipper Cash received $2.4 million in preliminary funding from Deciens Capital in May 2019. It obtained $6 million in Series A finance backed by Deciens Capital and Raptor Group seven months later. The number of users climbed from 70,000 to 600,000 between these two times.
The fintech instituted a foreign-exchange markup fee ranging from 2% to 5% to generate money. It also allowed users to pay a charge to trade bitcoins. The corporation was valued at $2.2 billion in late 2021. Furthermore, the firm’s transactions increased from $200 million in the first quarter of 2021 to $1.6 billion a year later.
According to Techcrunch, the business presently has 5 million users on its platform and processes an average of 80,000 transactions per day.
Chipper Cash, based in San Francisco, raised $30 million in a Series B fundraising round headed by Ribbit Capital, a VC firm based in the United States that specializes in early-stage firms, in 2020.
Bezos Expeditions, Jeff Bezos’ own venture capital fund, was one of the investors in the Series B fundraising round.
Serunjogi, a co-founder, remarked at the time that having Bezos’ support has enormous benefits outside the venture. According to Techcrunch, “it’s a big thing when a world-class investor like Bezos or Ribbit goes out of their sweet zone to a new region where they previously haven’t done investments.”
“Ultimately, the winner of those events is in the African tech sector as a whole, since it will attract additional investment from organizations of that caliber to African startups.”