African mobile money provider Wave recently wrapped up a $200 million Series A funding round that was the largest ever for a company of that type, according to a report by Finextra.
The fundraising effort, which was led by Sequoia Heritage, Founders Fund, Stripe and Ribbit, values Wave at $1.7 billion. Wave’s app runs a network of small local businesses, which use their on-hand cash to serve its customers.
“From day one, we’ve been relentlessly focused on building mobile money that’s easy to use and radically affordable,” said CEO and Founder Drew Durbin in the report. “We’ve built something people love in Senegal, but that’s only the beginning — our mission is to bring a modern financial network to everyone in Africa.”
All deposits and withdrawals across Wave’s network are free, and users pay 1% to send money. Users without a smartphone can use Wave through a free QR card.
“By building its own infrastructure full-stack — agent network, agent and consumer applications, QR cards, business collections and disbursements — Wave has been able to fuel its growth to several million monthly active users and billions of dollars in annual volume,” Durbin told TechCrunch.
Wave is hoping to expand into Uganda and Mali as part of the most recent fundraising round, as well as deepen its existing presence in other African markets and enhance its digital offerings and operations.
Last month, Africa-focused payments firm pawaPay secured a $9 million seed injection to expand its team and scale its business across the continent in a funding round co-led by Chinese investment firm MSA and U.K.-based investment fund 88mph.
Nikolai Barnwell, CEO of pawaPay, said in a company press release that the payments firm is “excited to have world-class investors supporting our vision to connect every mobile money wallet in Africa to each other, and the rest of the world, as we continue to make it simpler to do payments.”