Nigerian Fintech Cleva Secures $1.5 Million in Pre-Seed Funding

Nigerian Fintech Cleva Secures $1.5 Million in Pre-Seed Funding

By Staff Writer, 13 January 2024

Cleva, a Nigerian fintech startup specializing in creating a banking platform tailored for African individuals and businesses to receive international payments through USD accounts, has successfully raised $1.5 million in pre-seed funding.

The financing round was spearheaded by San Francisco-based early-stage venture capital firm 1984 Ventures.

Other notable participants in the funding include The Raba Partnership, Byld Ventures, FirstCheck Africa, and a group of angel investors.

Aaron Michel, a partner at 1984 Ventures, lauded Cleva’s co-founders, Tolu Alabi and Philip Abel, emphasizing the significant opportunity their product presents to Africans grappling with hyperinflation challenges.

Michel highlighted their extensive background, stating, “The team is uniquely qualified to address this given their experience building banking products at Stripe and robust platforms at AWS. The impressive early growth is a testament to the team’s unique capacity to execute across Africa and the U.S.”

Adding to the momentum, renowned startup accelerator Y Combinator has also backed Cleva in its pre-seed round, coinciding with the fintech’s inclusion in the accelerator's winter 2024 cohort.

Y Combinator has a track record of supporting African startups that facilitate U.S. bank account access for freelancers and remote workers on the continent, including previous investments in Grey Finance and Elevate (formerly Bloom).

While Cleva has initially rolled out its services targeting the Nigerian market, enabling users to establish USD accounts with the prerequisites of a Bank Verification Number (BVN) and a government-issued ID, the fintech's ambitions extend further.

Notably, within just four months since its inception, Cleva has onboarded "thousands" of Nigerians, processing over $1 million in monthly payments.

The company's CEO reports a robust month-on-month revenue growth rate of 100%.

While Cleva's offerings focus exclusively on USD accounts, it's essential to recognize that the market also features players providing GBP and EUR accounts, underscoring the growing demand and potential within the fintech landscape in Africa.

Tage Kene-Okafor / TechCrunch

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