By Michael Kachitsa
PalmPay had piloted its mobile fintech offering in Nigeria since July, before going live today at a launch in Lagos.
The startup aims to become Africa’s largest financial services platform, according to a statement.
As part of the investment, PalmPay enters a strategic partnership with mobile brands Tecno, Infinix and Itel that includes pre-installation of the startup’s app on 20 million phones in 2020.
The U.K.-headquartered venture — that was also founded with Chinese seed investment — offers a package of mobile-based financial services, including no-fee payment options, bill pay, rewards programs and discounted airtime.
In Nigeria, PalmPay will offer 10% cash back on airtime purchases and bank transfer rates as low as 10 Naira ($.02).
In addition to Nigeria, PalmPay will use the $40 million seed funding to grow its financial services business in Ghana. The payments startup has plans to expand to additional countries in 2020, PalmPay CEO Greg Reeve told TechCrunch on a call.
PalmPay received its approval from the Nigerian Central Bank as a licensed mobile money operator in July. During its pilot phase, the payments venture registered 100,000 users and processed 1 million transactions, according to a company spokesperson.
With its payments focus, the startup enters Africa’s most promising digital sector, but also one that has become notably competitive and crowded — particularly in the continent’s largest economy and most populous nation of Nigeria.