Wave, the payments platform, has announced that it has raised $200 million in its latest Series A funding round which makes it the highest amount raised in Series A for an African fintech and pushes the company to be one of the top payment platforms not only in Senegal but the whole of the region as well.
The application works based on deposits and withdrawals made through agents, which are generally owners of small shops or businesses, and the users would be able to send payments to each other within the region through the app. It was founded in 2018 and is now the most used payments app in Senegal and has been expanding to other countries as well. Africa is a region where the users are cost-conscious and by using agents to cut down costs of deposits and withdrawals, Wave has been able to gain a lot of traction within a short span of time.
CEO and founder Drew Durbin commented: “From day one, we’ve been relentlessly focused on building mobile money that’s easy-to-use and radically affordable. 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.”
Wave users can make deposits and withdrawals at the agent for free and they pay only 1% as transaction charges for making payments to other users. This is around 70% less than the charges that they need to pay if they make such transactions through other mobile payment apps. Also, even if the user does not have a smartphone, Wave gives its users a QR-based card which they can use to deposit or withdraw from agents and these are major reasons for the popularity of Wave in the country.
Former Y-Combinator CEO and Partech Africa investor Sam Altman added: “Wave is solving the root problem with financial services in Africa by making it easy and affordable for anyone to save and send money. They’ve built a product that millions of users love and the engagement is on par with the top consumer tech companies in the world.”
The company plans to continue developing the platform and also expand into other countries like Uganda and Mali using the funds that it has managed to raise in this round. The company is now valued at $1.7 billion which is likely to only increase in future funding rounds.