Tanzania’s NALA raises $40m series A funding to fuel global expansion and B2B payments

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According to CEO, Fernandes, the new funding will be used to fuel two key initiatives…
Benjamin Fernandes NALA CEO
Benjamin Fernandes NALA CEO

Fintech startup, NALA announced it has closed a $40 million Series A funding round, led by Acrew Capital with participation from DST Global, Norrsken22, HOF Capital, and existing investor Amplo.

The company also revealed angel investments from prominent fintech founders including Ryan King of Chime and Vlad Tenev of Robinhood.

Founded by Benjamin Fernandes, a former national television host of youth talk shows and sports shows in Tanzania, NALA started as a fintech startup enabling cross-border payments from the U.K. (and the U.S. and the E.U.) to Africa. Today, the company focuses on building efficient payment solutions for the “next billion” users, primarily targeting emerging markets beyond Africa.

Our journey begins with a bold mission: build payments for the next billion,” the company stated in a post by CEO Benjamin Fernandes. “The next billion doesn’t just include Africa but a majority of the world’s emerging markets NALA is looking to serve“, it adds.

According to CEO, Fernandes, the new funding will be used to fuel two key initiatives:

  1. Expand NALA’s consumer business beyond Africa to cater to the global migrant diaspora.
  2. Build Rafiki, a new payment infrastructure for Africa.

Rafiki is designed to lay the payment rails for the next billion users, ensuring reliability, managing treasury directly, improving error mapping, reducing user costs, and streamlining payouts and collections. Similar to how dLocal revolutionised payments in Latin America and AirWallex transformed the Asian market, Rafiki is set to build a robust payment infrastructure for Africa,” Fernandes explained on X.

NALA became the first East African company to participate in the Y Combinator accelerator in 2019. The fintech company raised $10 million in a seed funding round in January 2022. The round was led by Amplo, Accel $ Bessemer Partners, and DFS Lab. There was also participation from angel investors like the Head of Google Payments, Peeyush Ranjan, and Co-founder and CTO of Monzo, Jonas Templestein, etc.

(L-R) Nicolas Esteves (CTO), Benjamin Fernandes (Founder & CEO) and Nicolas Eddy (COO)
(L-R) Nicolas Esteves (CTO), Benjamin Fernandes (Founder & CEO) and Nicolas Eddy (COO) (IMG: NALA)

NALA’s CEO highlighted that over the past 24 months, NALA has expanded its product offerings to the UK, US, and EU, enabling transactions to 11 African countries.

The company’s growth is evident in its significant milestones: a 10x increase in revenue over the past year, achieving profitability, a 34x increase in transaction volume over 20 months, and expanding its team from 7 to nearly 100 members. Currently, NALA claims to serve nearly 500,000 customers worldwide.

Fernandes emphasised the challenges faced by NALA and other payment companies operating in Africa.

Payments are broken, and we can’t just complain about it.

NALA CEO Benjamin Fernandes

He also shared his journey as a founder, including the initial hurdles of starting a company with limited experience and resources.

We ran out of money four times,” Fernandes revealed. “This journey has given me a lot more empathy for founders. It has also made me even bolder and more ambitious.”

Fernandes concluded by expressing gratitude to its customers, investors, and team for their contributions to the company’s success. “Our journey wouldn’t have been possible without the unwavering support of many“,

Tanzania’s NALA raises $40m series A funding to fuel global expansion and B2B payments

While raising $40 million is a significant milestone, NALA’s CEO emphasised that it is just the beginning of their long-term vision.

Our ambitions are bold — we aim to 100x this business, and the path to achieving that is paved with hard work, innovation, and relentless dedication.

CEO Benjamin Fernandes

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