Chipper Cash’s adventure began when the two founders, Ham Serunjogi, a Ugandan, and Ghanaian Maijid Moujaled met in the US state of Iowa back in 2013. The two guys were in America to study and met at Grinnell College.
On a road trip to California, as a podcast on fintech and cryptocurrencies flooded the air, Ham and Maijid talked about starting a project together and decided to launch a money transfer solution. “Not just sending money from Western countries, since it already exists, but also between African states,” Ham says. This fateful encounter sparked their interest to head to Silicon Valley in search of the next big thing, and they found it.
In 2018, Ham reached out to Maijid who was working as a software engineer in San Francisco, to say it was time to get started. Ham resigned from his job and moved into Maijid’s studio apartment, sleeping on an air mattress in the kitchenette. The two used their combined savings of less than $30,000 and Maijid’s ongoing salary as seed capital. They launched a test version of their app in July 2018, letting customers send money from Uganda to Ghana for free. They pitched to more than 50 VC firms until, in November 2018, 500 Startups agreed to invest $150,000.
In 2019, Chipper Cash became available in Uganda, Ghana, Kenya, and Rwanda. It later expanded to Nigeria, Africa’s biggest market with more than 200 million people, and by the end of the year, it had 600,000 customers.
To start generating revenue, Chipper cash introduced a foreign-exchange markup fee between 2% to 5%. As bitcoin rose from $14,000 to $20,000 in 2020, Chipper allowed users to buy and sell bitcoin and ether, thereby creating another lucrative line of business which is trading fees. With investment from firms including Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX, Ribbit Capital, and Bezos Expeditions, the startup reached a $2.2 billion valuation in late 2021. Transactions also grew from $200 million in the first quarter of 2021 to $1.6 billion 12 months later.
Chipper Cash Funding
Chipper Cash raised $22 million in Capital in under two years. Subsequently, they were able to close a $13.8 million Series A funding round led by Deceins Capital, which helped them make remarkable progress. For example, the Chipper Cash mobile app added several new features.
Chipper cash raised a $30 million Series B funding led by Ribbit Capital with the participation of Bezos Expeditions in 2020. This move enabled the company to expand its reach as it scaled to 3 million users on its platform with over 80,000 transactions processed.
The plan allowed the P2P payment application to expand its products, offering more crypto-currency trading options to African crypto traders, business payment solutions, and investment services.
In addition to increasing cross-payments in countries, major credit goes to Chipper cash for the increase in the sale and trading of Bitcoin. This move allowed the company to boost its employee plans by hiring an additional 100 staff.
Chipper cash pressed further and raised a Series C round of $100 million, which SVB Financial Group led in 2021. It further raised $150 million in a Series C extension led by Sam Bankman-Fried’s cryptocurrency exchange platform which is its highest raise. This enabled Chipper to extend its reach beyond Africa and reduced the cost of P2P payments between African countries and the world.
Chipper cash is one of the few African companies to raise over $100 million which is a huge inspiration for African startups in Africa. By comparison, the standard African startup seed rounds up to $1.5 million; in Latin America and India, approximately $5.7 million and $4.6 million.
Chipper also became a unicorn in 2021, just one of the new breeds of startups that have a valuation of up to $1 billion.