AZA Finance: Revolutionising Frontier Market Payments with Blockchain

AZA Finance Revolutionising Frontier Market Payments with Blockchain

Founded by Elizabeth Rossiello, AZA Finance is a global fintech company that is accelerating economic growth in Africa through its best-in-class foreign exchange, payments, settlement, and treasury services. AZA Group was founded in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2013. A true visionary, Rossiello saw first-hand how African businesses and currencies were consistently undervalued and underserved by the “developed world,” in part due to pervasive Western stereotypes about the continent. She realized that Africa’s embrace of financial technologies like mobile money posed an invaluable opportunity to change the narrative. The right company could bridge the financial services gap between G20 and African countries, which would unlock Africa’s trillion-dollar growth through new jobs, partnerships, and investment. She decided to found AZA Finance (then Bitpesa) to realize this vision, starting by bringing blockchain and digital currencies to the African market.


The Early Days: BitPesa


AZA Group’s roots can be traced back to its early days as BitPesa. Founded in Nairobi, Kenya, BitPesa aimed to provide an innovative solution for individuals and businesses in Africa and beyond who were grappling with the high costs and slow speeds of cross-border payments. The company’s initial focus was on enabling Bitcoin-based transfers, allowing users to bypass traditional banking channels.


BitPesa quickly gained traction as a pioneer in the cryptocurrency-based remittance industry. It was hailed for its ability to offer faster, more cost-effective cross-border payments, especially in regions where financial infrastructure was underdeveloped. This early success laid the foundation for the company’s future growth and evolution.


Growth and Rebranding


As BitPesa continued to expand its services and geographic reach, it became clear that the company’s ambitions extended far beyond facilitating cryptocurrency transactions. In 2019, BitPesa rebranded itself as AZA Group to better reflect its broader vision of creating a comprehensive digital foreign exchange and payment platform. AZA has since expanded to offer a full suite of FX and payments services across all major African and G20 currencies, powered by its proprietary fintech platforms. To date, AZA has managed more than $2 billion in global transactions for SMEs, global organizations, and companies from more than 115 countries. 


Funding and Milestones


AZA Group’s journey has been characterized by significant milestones and substantial financial backing. To date, AZA Finance has reportedly secured a remarkable $64,950,000.00 in funding across seven rounds, with its latest Series B round closing on April 28, 2021. Aza Finance boasts support from several investors, including notable names like the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) and Sompo. Moreover, the company’s expansion drive led to the acquisition of two organizations, most recently Exchange4free on April 28, 2021.


Awards and Recognition: 


AZA Group received accolades and recognition from various industry and tech publications, further solidifying its position as a leading innovator in the fintech space. Its incredible mission and growth was recognized by Fast Company in 2021 as a Global Top 10 Most Innovative Company.


As the company continues to expand and adapt to the evolving financial landscape, it stands poised to drive further transformation and financial inclusion across the globe.

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