African cross-border fintech startup Chipper Cash has raised a $6 million seed-round led by Deciens Capital.
The San Francisco-based company offers mobile-based, no fee, P2P payment services in six countries: Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Kenya.
Chipper Cash will use the capital to grow its team and move into new geographic areas, according to CEO Ham Serunjogi.
“Southern Africa is an area we’re looking to expand to in 2020,” he told TechCrunch on a call. Chipper Cash won’t yet disclose which countries that could entail.
The digital finance startup’s had a busy 12 months in an eventful year overall for Africa’s fintech scene. After going live in 2018, Chipper Cash raised $2.4 million in May 2019 in a seed round that included support from 500 Startups and Liquid 2 Ventures — co-founded by American football icon Joe Montana.
In September, Chipper Cash expanded into what is now arguably Africa’s largest fintech market, Nigeria. With its latest round, the startup has raised over $8 million in seed capital. Participants in the $6 million financing include previous investors, and a few new backers, such as Boston based Raptor Group.
Deciens Capital Co-Founder Dan Kimerling confirmed the fund’s lead on the latest round and that he will continue his role on Chipper Cash’s board.
The fintech company, co-founded by Ghanaian Maijid Moujaled, now has more than 600,000 active users and has processed over 3 million transactions on its no-fee, P2P, cross-border mobile-money payments product, according to Serunjogi.
The startup also runs Chipper Checkout: a merchant-focused, fee-based C2B mobile payment product that generates the revenue to support Chipper Cash’s free mobile-money business.
The startup’s planned move to Southern Africa — home to the continent’s second-largest and most advanced economy of South Africa — will place Chipper Cash in all three corners of the Africa’s triangle of leading digital finance markets.
There are hundreds of payments startups across Africa looking to bring the continent’s large unbanked and underbanked populations onto mobile finance applications.
Some products, such as M-Pesa in Kenya, have succeeded in reaching tens of millions. However, one characteristic of successful African fintech products is their use has been geographically segregated, with few apps able to scale widely across borders.
Chipper Cash touts its ability to grow its P2P product in several countries in 2019, including Nigeria.
Serunjogi explained the imperative to move to the West African country earlier this year. “Nigeria is the largest economy and most populous country in Africa. Its fintech industry is one of the most advanced in Africa, up there with Kenya and South Africa,” he told TechCrunch in May.
Apparently a number of actors were on the same wavelength when he said that, as Nigerian fintech gained $360 million in VC in November — the equivalent of roughly one-third of all the startup capital raised in Africa in 2018, according to Partech stats.
Part of this venture influx was directed to potential Chipper Cash competitors.
In two separate rounds, Chinese investors put $220 million into OPay and PalmPay — two fledgling payment startups with plans to scale in Nigeria and the broader continent. That money dwarfs rounds raised by other P2P focused fintech companies, such as Chipper Cash.
On how the startup will compete with the these new players with big coffers, Serunjogi points to Chipper Cash’s gratis-payment structure, among other factors.
“Money doesn’t buy product market fit. It doesn’t buy ultimate success in this space,” he said.
“By offering our product for free, we’re not in a pricing war or competing on a dollar-to-dollar basis. We’re in a pure utility war on who can provide the most value to our users. We’re quite comfortable with our position, and our long-term value proposition will speak for itself over time,” Serunjogi added.
At the end of 2020 we can review where Chipper Cash and competitive platforms stand on country reach and volumes in the startup race to scale digital payments across Africa’s 1.2 billion people.
Lucid Air Sapphire Takes On Tesla’s Plaid With A 1,200 Horsepower Electric Monster
Meanwhile, there are new Michelin PS4S tires for the 265/35R20 front and 295/30R21 rear wheels — staggered at 20-inch up front and 21-inch at the back — with 420 mm carbon ceramic brake discs and 10-pot calipers at the front and 380 mm versions at the back with 4-pot calipers. Lucid says it has used a continuously wound carbon mesh for those discs, too, to improve thermal conductivity. The front and rear springs are stiffer, as are the bushings, and there are unique damper, ABS, traction and stability control, and steering settings.
Outside, there’s a new tinted carbon fiber rear spoiler, matching side mirror caps, and a new Sapphire Air logo on the rear pillars and trunk. Lucid has added to the track width — with new fender lips adding 24 mm at the rear and 12 mm at the front — and while the standard wheels have a more open design than the Air normally sports, there are cabin fiber aero disc inserts which can help boost range.
Initially, only a single color — a new in-house sapphire blue — will be offered on the car. That’ll be combined with Lucid’s new Stealth Look trim, leaving the exterior brightwork darker. Inside, there’s a new Sapphire Mojave theme, with extra bolstering for the 18-way power sport seats that are finished in black leather, black Alcantara, and Sapphire Blue contrast stitching. The infotainment system gets a new Sapphire Mode color scheme, and there’s matching stitching on the steering wheel.
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This Electronic ‘Skin’ Lacking A Chip Could Be The Future Of Wearables
But here’s the exciting part: The electronic skin can also be easily customized with a different kind of ion-sensing membrane that is sensitive to other chemicals like glucose and cortisol in the sweat. “We showed sodium sensing, but if you change the sensing membrane, you could detect any target biomarker,” adds co-author of the paper, Jun Min Suh.
In 2018, a team from Stanford University also came up with a wearable device that can measure cortisol levels in sweat and analyze stress levels. Additionally, 2021 wearable-centric research from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in France revealed that cortisol can be used as a biomarker for treating conditions like burnout and obesity.
Another critical benefit is that the electronic skin is flexible, which means the comfort aspect has already been taken care of. That’s a huge relief, as sleeping while wearing a smartwatch so that it collects detailed information about heart rate patterns is not the most comfortable experience. Plus, sleep tracking coupled with continuous heart rate monitoring is also quite taxing on the battery life of a smartwatch.
An electronic skin that can transmit data related to heart rate and changes in the chemistry of sweat without a chip or transmission gear is a truly remarkable step. Work in the domain has been making tremendous process. From the potential for tattoos that monitor health to artificial skin that can heal its own bruises, the possibilities are almost endless.
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