Maplerad, a global Banking-as-a-service (BaaS) player targeting Africa, has raised $6 million in seed funding. Although the founders declined to comment, the U.S.-based company which is coming out of stealth, raised the round at a $30 million valuation, according to sources.
Although the seed round (Maplerad’s third seed African investment) was led by The Petr Thiel-founded VC firm, the fintech’s founders Miracle Anywanwu and Obinna Chukwujioke claim that they also invested their money into the company.
Other players in the seed round include Golden Palm Investments Corporation, Michael Vaughn (ex-COO, Venmo), Fintech Fund, Babs Ogundeyi (CEO, Kuda) Armyn Capital, Dunbar Capital, Strawhat Investment, Polymath Capital, Unpopular Ventures, Sean Mahsoul and MyAsiaVC.
While in Stealth mode, Maplerad saw over 100 companies added to its platform, processing millions of dollars each month for startups like Pastel, Spleet, Bridgecard, Onboardly, Vella, Crowdforce, Dojah, GetEquity, and a few banks.
Now that it is out of the shadows, the company says it intends to use the funding to increase client acquisition, obtain new licenses, expand its staff, and firmly establish its position across Africa.
According to a statement by the CEO and CTO, Miracle Anyanwu, the company which officially launched in 2020 as Wirepay, gained traction from businesses and customers alike when the company grew in terms of subscribers.
This, he claimed, drew businesses to inquire about the in-house infrastructure powering the features on its consumer app.
“People wanted to use the infrastructure powering Wirepay, our license coverages, and banking relationships,”
More about Maplerad
Maplerad’s journey as a company can be traced back to 2020, when the founders launched its first product, Wirepay.
The app’s initial goal was to facilitate cross-border payments for users by providing fiat and cryptocurrency cross-border payment options. But over time, it evolved into what it calls an “all-in-one finance platform,” allowing users to pay bills, create virtual and physical cards, and receive, retain, and make payments in a variety of currencies.
According to Anywanwu, in a call with TechCrunch, Maplerad had always wanted to spin off this infra for other businesses. However, when outside requests flocked in en-masse, they finally arranged to beta-launch Maplerad in August, the infra product that allows companies to embed powerful financial features like accounts, payments, FX, and cards into their products.
The company last year raised an undisclosed pre-seed, including a $125,000 check from OnDeck. Golden Palm Investments Corporation, Greenhouse Capital, some Stash executives, and Berrywood Capital were other investors in the round.
“From day one, when we built Wirepay for our consumers, we knew the end move would be infrastructural even though we didn’t start the business infrastructure first. For anyone to build anything finance-related, they have a whole lot of banking stack that they have to start with and even before integrating features, they have to go past many hurdles,” said the chief executive.
“One of them is banking relationships and compliance. The other is licencing. So Maplerad is solving financial infrastructure problems for these businesses in Africa. We handle that whole stack and provide the best-in-class APIs to use that can make you launch a financial product within five minutes.
So instead of a company spending 8 months and a couple of million dollars to start building a fintech product, you can integrate with our APIs and go live”, he added.
The Nigerian banking space is gradually heating up with the rising of Banking-as-a-service platforms. One major factor sponsoring this rise is the inefficiency of these conventional banks and a lag in bringing their services up to speed with the pace of change in the world of tech and banking.
Over the past 18 months, BaaS infrastructures have rapidly gained traction within the finance industry.
These platforms enable organizations, from startups and fintech to large enterprises and banks, to offer specialized banking services and experiences to their users through partnerships with banks.
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