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Paga to Accelerate Growth With $10m Investment

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  • Paga to Accelerate Growth With $10m Investment

Paga, a mobile money company in Nigeria, has announced that it has closed a $10m growth financing led by the Global Innovation Fund.

Also participating in the round are existing investors, Goodwell (managed by Alitheia Capital), Adlevo Capital, Omidyar Network and Unreasonable Capital.

According to the company, this new financing brings the total that Paga has raised since inception in 2009 to $35m.

It commenced commercial operations in August 2012 and recently revealed that since then, it had served nine million customers and created over 10,000 jobs through its 17,000 agents who hire workers to run their stores.

The Chief Executive Officer, Global Innovation Fund, Alix Zwane, said, “The GIF is proud to lead Paga’s Series B2 round.

“Paga’s mission of helping people ‘make life possible’ aligns with our core mission of supporting entrepreneurs and innovators that seek to improve the lives of those living on less than $5 per day. I am pleased that the GIF will help to enable Paga’s next phase.”

Nigeria is one of the fastest growing emerging markets in the world and the biggest economy in Africa, with $405bn Gross Domestic Product. The country currently has a population of 186 million but is expected to become the third largest country in the world (behind India and China) by 2050 with 411 million people.

Financial inclusion experts say that in Nigeria today, over 100 million adults find it difficult to transfer or leverage money for basic human needs. According to them, this problem is one that exists even for those that are banked, and is something Paga’s team is passionate about solving.

The Managing Partner, Alitheia Capital, Tokunboh Ishmael, said, “The growth financing announced today will enable Paga to further scale its business in Nigeria to drive the growth of Paga’s mobile wallet and agent network, and explore expansion opportunities in other markets where similar problems exist.

“Our belief in Paga as an effective platform to drive financial inclusion is unwavering. Paga has shown solid progress, and alongside other investments in our portfolio, has played a huge role in our ability to demonstrate that enabling access to essential services for the broad population has both significant financial and developmental impact.”

According to Chief Executive Officer, Paga, Tayo Oviosu, the company’s transformative purpose is to make it simple for one billion people to access and use money.

Oviosu stated, “With a nationwide network of 17,000 agents and more than nine million users accessing funds in Nigeria, Paga is making strides by enabling efficient digital payments and building successful societies. This has translated to over 57 million transactions processed worth approximately $3.6m, a business that is profitable and growing at 110 per cent compounded annual growth rate (2016-2018).

“At Paga, we are building an ecosystem that enables people to digitally send and receive money, and creating simple financial access for everyone.”

He added, “We do not seek to be a bank, but rather to partner the banks and financial institutions in the markets we operate. We are proud to welcome the Global Innovation Fund as a partner on our journey.

“We were attracted to them because of their global focus, network to help us achieve our ambition and a clear alignment of values. It is also fantastic that our existing investors remain committed to our strategy and are demonstrating that by their additional investments.”

Oviosu had earlier said that the firm’s mission was strengthened by the recent release of its new money transfer app that would drive the use of the Paga wallet for person-to-person transfers and in-store payments.

“In a country where digital financial services still leave much to be desired, Paga is staking a claim at being the Venmo of Nigeria. With cash still being king in emerging markets and the general unreliability of Point of Sale services, coupled with the sparsely located banks and Automated Teller Machines, the company has created a viable solution for ease of payments: a simple app that allows you to send money to or request money from anyone only using their phone number or email address, and a digital wallet to which you can link any debit card or bank account,” he noted.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Fintech

Flutterwave Celebrates Inclusion in CNBC’s Top 250 Global Fintechs

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Flutterwave has been recognized as one of the Top 250 Fintech companies globally by CNBC and Statista.

Joining the ranks of industry giants like Ali Pay, Klarna, Piggyvest, and Mastercard, this accolade underscores Flutterwave’s impact on the financial technology sector.

This honor follows Flutterwave’s recent inclusion in Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies list, highlighting the company’s pivotal role in transforming Africa’s payment landscape.

The recognition is a testament to Flutterwave’s dedication to innovation and excellence in providing seamless payment solutions across the continent.

Expressing gratitude, Flutterwave acknowledged its talented team, supportive board, reliable partners, and loyal customers for contributing to this success.

The company continues to drive progress in the fintech industry, reinforcing its commitment to enhancing financial accessibility and inclusion in Africa and beyond.

Flutterwave’s recognition on these prestigious lists marks a proud moment and a significant milestone in its journey, reflecting the company’s growing influence and leadership in the global fintech arena.

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Startups

Google Leads $250 Million Funding Round for Glance

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A logo is pictured at Google's European Engineering Center in Zurich

Google is leading a $250 million funding round for Glance, a mobile content provider.

This infusion of capital aims to expand Glance’s reach and solidify its market position amidst growing competition.

Glance, a subsidiary of InMobi Group, offers a unique service that delivers news, entertainment, and other content directly to users’ mobile screens without unlocking their devices.

With a user base exceeding 300 million across India, the US, Japan, and Indonesia, the startup has gained significant traction since its inception in 2019.

The funding round, expected to close in the coming weeks, marks a continued partnership between Google and Glance.

Google initially invested in the company in 2020, and this latest round will further enhance Glance’s capabilities to innovate and reach new audiences.

This investment reflects Google’s strategic interest in India, the world’s most populous nation, where it competes with tech giants like Microsoft, Meta, and Amazon.

With India’s rapidly growing middle class and increasing smartphone adoption, the market presents vast opportunities for digital expansion.

The support from Google comes on the heels of a previous $200 million investment by Mukesh Ambani, Asia’s wealthiest individual, which valued Glance at over $1 billion.

The startup’s largest stakeholder, InMobi, continues to thrive as a pioneer in mobile advertising, with Glance benefiting from its expertise and resources.

As Glance prepares for this new phase of growth, it stands poised to redefine how content is consumed on mobile devices worldwide.

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Technology

Cyber Threats Surge as Nigeria’s Digital Economy Expands

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As Nigeria’s digital economy flourishes, it faces escalating cyber threats, prompting the Federal Government to issue 33 cyberattack advisories in the past year.

These warnings, issued by the Nigeria Computer and Emergency Response Team (ngCERT), highlight the growing vulnerability of the nation’s digital infrastructure.

Since July 2023, ngCERT has alerted Nigerians to new attack methods and vulnerabilities. With 22 advisories issued in 2024 alone, the surge in cyberattacks coincides with the accelerated digitization spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Monthly internet usage in Nigeria soared from 125,149.86 terabytes in December 2019 to 753,388.77 terabytes in March 2024.

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) notes that increased digitalization has heightened cybersecurity risks, necessitating robust protective measures.

According to Check Point Research, Nigerian businesses face approximately 2,308 attacks weekly across all sectors.

The advisories reveal various cyber threats, including ransomware and banking trojans. A recent warning highlighted Grandoreiro, a malware targeting over 1,500 banks globally, affecting 41 banking applications in Nigeria alone.

These attacks aim to steal sensitive financial data, potentially causing significant financial losses.

Nigeria’s critical infrastructure is also under threat. In August, pro-Nigerien hackers attempted to disrupt MTN Nigeria’s network, although they were unsuccessful.

During the 2023 elections, the government recorded 12.99 million cyberattacks, underscoring the scale of the threat.

Cybercrime costs Nigeria about $500 million annually. This includes data damage, stolen money, lost productivity, and post-attack disruptions.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation ranked Nigeria as the 16th country worst affected by cybercrime in 2020.

Experts emphasize the need for stronger cybersecurity measures. Adesina Sodiya, a professor of Computer Science and Information Security, warns that cyberattacks will continue to grow in sophistication.

He stresses the importance of building a cybersecurity curriculum and involving experts in creating effective strategies.

In response, NITDA plans to reduce cyberattacks by 40% by 2027. “As we digitize, we must build with security in mind,” said Kashifu Inuwa, director-general of NITDA.

The agency aims to implement comprehensive strategies to protect Nigeria’s burgeoning digital economy.

As Nigeria’s digital economy expands, it must address the growing cyber threats that accompany this progress. By enhancing cybersecurity measures and fostering collaboration among stakeholders, Nigeria can safeguard its digital future.

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