Yellow Card raises US$1.5m to enhance cryptocurrency penetration in Africa

NIGERIA – Yellow Card, a Nigerian cryptocurrency startup has raised US$1.5 million which it aims to use to expand its operations across the continent.

Yellow Card said it will use the funding to expand its cryptocurrency operations and “become the dominant exchange across the continent,” Chris Maurice, CEO said.

Yellow Card also announced the hiring of former senior director of payment services at Walmart, Jason Marshall, as the startup’s chief operating officer.

Leading Yellow Card’s latest investment is a team of high-profile investors including VC firm Andreessen Horowitz (also called a16z) which is one of US’ largest private venture capital firms.

Andreessen Horowitz has previously invested in Skype, Facebook, Twitter, AirBnB, Ripple (blockchain-based), Github, CryptoKitties (blockchain-based), and a host of other high-tech companies.

According to investment analysts, having a team with strong experience in cryptocurrencies must have also influenced the funding.

Other investors in Yellow Card – which aims to make it easier for consumers in Africa to buy and sell cryptocurrency — included Polychain and Celo, through Celo Ecosystem Fund.

“We’re excited about the ways in which crypto can help modernize Africa’s financial infrastructure and better serve its peoples,” Olaf Carlson-Wee, CEO, PolyChain Capital, said.

PolyChain’s CEO further noted that Yellow Card’s mobile-first, cryptocurrency-enabled suite of products allows users to transfer value, store value, or remit value at significantly lower costs and with higher speed and better security than incumbent, legacy services provide.”

Founded in 2016 by Chris Maurice and Justin Poiroux, Yellow Card started with an intent to create a Bitcoin gift card.

Then, in 2018, Chris and Justin met a man at a Wells Fargo who was trying to send $200 dollars to his family in Nigeria. The bank charged him $90.

They teamed up with Munachi Ogueke to undertake the mission of bringing Bitcoin to Africa with the objective of “basic financial services for all” and have since taken Nigeria by storm with 35,000+ merchants and over $35 million dollars in transactions.

The company said it recently expanded into South Africa and Botswana and added 30,000 new vendors.

Yellow Card further revealed that Starting September 1, the service will also launch in Kenya and Cameroon.

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