Grey, a Nigerian digital banking startup, announced on Monday that it has raised a $2 million seed round.
The round was led by participation from Y Combinator, Soma Capital, Heirloom Fund, True Culture Fund, angel investors Alan Rutledge, Samvit Ramadurgam, Karthik Ramakrishnan, and other high-profile investors.
With the new funding, the startup said it plans to launch into new markets and extend its product suite to both remittances, person-to-person and business-to-business payments for African cross-border payments with low fees.
Formerly Aboki Africa, the start-up was launched in 2021 by Idorenyin Obong and Femi Aghedo and allows its users to create a foreign US dollar, Great Britain Pounds, and Euro bank account for free, send money to the UK and Europe and receive payments from over 88 countries.
The startup said it also offers conversion directly to its customer’s local currency so that you can spend it easily on the app.
It said it allows its users to receive foreign payments in their preferred foreign currency and withdraw directly to mobile money or their local bank account.
According to the startup after raising an undisclosed amount in pre-seed funding last year, it, however, secured space to join the Y combinator winter 2022 startup batch in March.
Speaking on the funding round in a statement, the co-founder, Idorenyin Obong, said “We built Grey in 2021 to empower people to live a location-independent lifestyle. I believe that the least of your worries as a freelancer, remote worker, or digital nomad should be sending or receiving payments, so we’ve made it easy.
“We like to say that we’re on a mission to make international payments as easy as sending an email. We want to do impactful work to improve how Africa as a continent interacts with money across its borders. I am delighted that we’ve acquired an extensive and fiercely loyal user base.
“With this new round of capital, we plan to launch into new markets and extend our product suite to both remittances and person-to-person and business-to-business payments so every African can enjoy seamless cross-border payments with low fees.”
In addition to the funding, he said the startup also expanded into East Africa, starting with Kenya, and partnerships with payments giant Cellulant and ed-tech leader Moringa. Travelling to Kenya is much easier with Grey because you can pay vendors directly to M-pesa, he added.
“We’ve also privately launched Grey Business for several companies. Sending money worldwide is not just an individual problem; it affects African businesses too,” he said.
“Over the last two months, we’ve onboarded several African businesses to our private beta. Honestly, when we listen to the feedback about how much we’ve simplified a previously complex process, it pushes us to do more.”
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