Zazuu, the world’s first non-biased payment platform, has announced it has raised a $2 million funding to provide Africans in the diaspora with smart ways to move money.
Founded in 2018 by four African-born entrepreneurs, Kay Akinwunmi (CEO), Korede Fanilola (COO), Tola Alade (CDO), and Tosin Ekolie (CTO) who have diverse professional backgrounds ranging from technology, to design to banking and finance ,Zazuu’s mission is to provide Africans in the diaspora with smart ways to move money.
“The mission has always been simple for us from day one. Africans have consistently gotten the shorter end of the stick with remittance transactions. We discovered that the primary reason for that was a lack of transparency on the part of the providers. We’re solving that problem by building a smarter way to transfer money. With Zazuu, users can search multiple money transfer providers in their region, compare the rates and fees, and then choose who to send money with, at no extra cost,” Kay Akinwunmi added.
Over the two years of operation, Zazuu has evolved from a simple chatbot informing users of the daily rates in Facebook and Telegram groups, to an FCA-licensed organization in the UK with users in 8 countries across North America and Europe. Nearly a hundred thousand users have used the current iteration of its Search and Compare service to find the best rates for their corridors.
Zazuu’s recently completed raise represents a significant step in the startup’s mission to give Africans smart ways to move their money. The fundraising round saw participation from Launch Africa, Founders Factory Africa, Hoaq Club, Tinie Tempah, Jason Njoku, CEO IrokoTV, Babs Ogundeyi, CEO Kuda Bank, and other angel investors.
Speaking on the recently raised round, Kay Akinwunmi said,” We’re happy about the specific investors that have joined us on this journey. We’re always on the lookout for smart investors who offer more than just money; people who share in the vision of a better, fairer world for Africans. With their support, we believe we can build a more equitable financial services ecosystem.”
On why they backed Zazuu, Zach George, Managing Partner at Launch Africa had this to say, “Zazuu is building a true marketplace for financial services, starting with remittances and payments. We believe their business will bring fairer, more transparent pricing and better cross-border mobility of money across the African continent.”
Sam Sturm, Chief Venture Architect at Founders Factory Africa also added, “At FFA we look to support exceptional founders in turning great ideas into ventures that are designed to scale. The opportunity to innovate within the remittance space is massive; it’s opaque and fragmented, which means that it’s inefficient and ineffective for users. In teaming up with Zazuu, we saw an impressive team addressing a problem that’s worth solving, with a solution that has massive growth potential.”
The startup has recently launched a Pay with Zazuu feature that allows users to complete transactions in-app. This means that users can search, compare and complete their transfers with these providers (if they so please) without having to leave the app. Although this service is only currently available to senders in the UK and receivers in Nigeria and Ghana, Zazuu is working rapidly to expand access to more people.
Speaking on the roadmap following the fundraising, Korede Fanilola, the company’s COO, added, “The plan for us is growth. We want to scale our solution as quickly as possible. We’re working on getting licenses that allow us to offer our service to users in other European countries before the end of the year. We’ll also be concurrently improving the product with new features that ensure that everyone sending money to Africa gets the best money transfer experience.”
While many startups have laid claim to disrupting the remittance industry in the past, the problems of transparency and financial exclusion still linger. However, Zazuu’s model offers a fresh take on the challenge. Using a marketplace approach, the startup hopes to create a more equal system where users finally have more information before making a decision. Through this model, Zazuu believes that it can get remittance companies to compete directly for the attention of users, thus leading them to offer better rates and experiences.
While cross-border payments is the pressing problem, the startup also has its sights on other financial challenges faced by immigrants. Kay Akinwunmi added, “We’re more than a payments company. We want a build a better financial ecosystem for Africans in the diaspora. That means, more than just helping people complete transactions, we want to better help them with better access to financial instruments like credit both home and abroad in the future. The aim is to build a completely non-biased financial wellbeing for African immigrants across the world”