Nigerian banking-as-a-service platform Maplerad raises $6M, led by Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures • TechCrunch
Banking as a Service (BaaS) platforms have taken off rapidly across the fintech world over the past 18 months. By partnering with banks, these platforms allow entities from startups and financial companies to large corporations and banks to offer personalized banking services and experiences to their customers.
Fintechs offers BaaS services in the US and Europe, such as lonlinessAnd the Rapid And the treasury chiefThey have achieved a large scale due to the advanced banking systems that they have in their markets. However, their counterparts are trying to replicate this growth in less advanced banking systems like Africa, where the demand and scalability of these products has not been demonstrated.
In the latest developments, mapleradone of the fintech companies described by its founders Anyanwu . miracle And the Obinna Chokugyuki As a global BaaS player targeting Africa, it was able to raise $6 million in seed funding. According to US-based sources, maplerad, which came out of disguise, raised the tour at a valuation of $30 million. The founders declined to comment.
Maplerad’s journey as a company can be traced back to 2020, when the founders launched its first product, Wirepay. The app started with helping users make international payments by offering cross-border payment solutions in fiat and cryptocurrency. However, it has since transformed into a self-described all-in-one financial product that enables users to receive, hold and make payments in multiple currencies, create virtual and physical cards, and pay bills.
Last year, Wirepay collected an undisclosed advance payment, including a check for $125,000 from OnDeck. Golden Palm Investments Corporation, Greenhouse Capital and some executives at Stash and Berrywood Capital were other investors in the round.
With Wirepay growing to more than 50,000 users, mainly in Nigeria, Anyanwu, in a call with TechCrunch, said companies are starting to inquire about the in-house infrastructure that supports features in their consumer app. “People wanted to use the infrastructure that underpins Wirepay, cover licenses, and banking relationships,” said the CEO and CTO.
Anywanwu also mentioned that Maplerad (the parent company) has always wanted to separate this infrastructure from other companies. However, when overseas orders flooded in en masse, they finally arranged to launch the beta of Maplerad, an Infra product that allows companies to include powerful financial features such as accounts, payments, forex and cards in their products, in August.
“From day one, when we set up Wirepay for our clients, we knew the final step would be infrastructure even though we didn’t start the business infrastructure first. In order for anyone to be able to build anything finance related, they have a wide range of services,” said the CEO. The banking he has to start with, and even before integrating the features, they have to overcome many hurdles.” One of them is banking relationships and compliance. The other is licensing. So Maplerad is solving the financial infrastructure problems for these companies in Africa. We handle that whole stack and provide Best-in-class APIs that can get you launching a financial product in five minutes.So instead of spending 8 months and $2M for a company to start building a Fintech product, you can integrate with our APIs and go live .”
Banking platforms It has become popular with companies It is trying to include financial services in its offerings because the big established banks have been relatively slow in bringing their services up to speed with the pace of change in the world of technology and banking. As such, banking as a service platforms see an opportunity to offer more personalized and flexible services at a lower cost. The space is heating up – some of Maplerad’s competitors in Nigeria include YC backed anchorMass OnePipe And the largest financial technology companies such as Flutterwave.
in an interview With TechCrunch in August, Anchor’s CEO cited the technical expertise of his founding team, the concern for security, scalability, and the speed with which companies can zip on their platform when asked about the startup’s advantage over others.
Maplerad’s founders asked a similar question, citing the platform’s “wider reach of banking relationships,” “unparalleled technology,” and “best institutional investors/partners.” In parallel, James Fitzgerald, partner at Valar Ventures, speaking of the investment, said that with large portions of Africa’s population still financially excluded despite the continent’s mature economies, “there is a huge opportunity for best-in-class Maplerad as a banking solution.” A service to provide businesses with the financial infrastructure to expand across Africa and the world quickly and easily.”
The VC firm founded by Peter Thiel led Maplerad’s initial round, its third African investment after Kuda and Yellow Card. Other investors in the round include Golden Palm Investments, Michael Vaughn (former COO, Venmo), Fintech Fund, Babs Ogundeyi (CEO, Kuda) Armyn Capital, Dunbar Capital, Strawhat Investment, Polymath Capital, Unpopular Ventures, Sean Mahsoul and MyAsiaVC. . The founders said they also invested their money in the company.
While incognito, Maplerad processed millions of dollars per month for more than 100 companies acquired on its platform, including startups like Pastel, Spleet, Bridgecard, Onboardly, Vella, Crowdforce, Dojah, GetEquity, and a few banks. She plans to use the investment to gain more clients now that the stealth is over, get additional licenses, build her team and solidify her presence across Africa.