BitPesa raises $15m, forms new holding company dubbed AZA Group

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BitPesa, a Nairobi-based Cryptocurrency liquidity platform has raised $16 million and formed a new holding company AZA Group, to run its brands BitPesa, TransferZero and BFX.

The debt financing was raised from the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) and makes AZA Group, one of the leading provider of currency trading solutions across Africa, Europe and the Middle East where BitPesa, TransferZero and BFX operate.

According to Elizabeth Rossiello, founder and CEO of AZA . “We’re here to be an integral part of how Africa is accelerating its growth. The potential for frontier markets continues to increase and becomes more globally relevant. We’re solving a continent-wide challenge of a lack of financial infrastructure available for growing businesses – and we are doing it using a unique combination of financial and technological tools with a modern operational approach.”

With the financing, AZA will expand into new markets in the Middle East, Northern, and Southern Africa, as well as reinvent the frontier currency industry in the markets it already operates.

Since inception of its first company BitPesa in 2013, AZA Group has seen $1 Billion volume transacted in, out, and across Africa. With the acquisition of TransferZero and launch of its B2B product BFX, transaction growth spurred 300%. AZA Group is the only non-bank provider of both wholesale FX and distribution across the African Region, and has gained on geography through increased bank accounts, mobile money, and other payment options.

With a team of over 100 people, AZA has regional HQ offices in Lagos, London, and Nairobi with growing satellite teams in Dakar, Madrid, Accra, Kampala and soon Johannesburg.

AZA’s independent Board Director, Linda Fayne Levinson, was the first female partner ever at McKinsey Group and currently is Chair of the Board of Hertz, Independent Lead Director of Jacobs Engineering Group and a Director of Ingram Micro, and NCR.

“The DBSA in its desire to support the development of African economies supports innovative concepts and technology to enhance Africa’s competitiveness and reduce the cost of trade to its people.” said Paul Currie, DBSA’s Chief Investment Officer