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

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

The Y Combinator-backed Nigerian fintech startup has reportedly raised $1.5 million in pre-seed funding. Tolu Alabi, the CEO of Cleva, expressed confidence in her and fellow co-founder Philip Abel’s ability to navigate the competitive fintech market, citing their background as a factor that counts in the startup’s favor.

Cleva Founders ‘Uniquely Qualified’

Nigerian fintech startup Cleva has raised $1.5 million in a pre-seed funding round backed by the U.S. technology startup accelerator Y Combinator. The early-stage venture capital firm, 1984 Ventures, led the round with the participation of The Raba Partnership, Byld Ventures, Firstcheck Africa, and several angel investors.

According to a Techcrunch report, the funding is expected to help the fintech startup build a banking platform that enables both individuals and businesses to receive international payments. Aaron Michel, a partner at 1984 Ventures, expressed confidence in Tolu Alabi and Philip Abel’s stewardship of the startup.

“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.,” Michel said.

The Nigerian Market

Meanwhile, Alabi, who is also the startup’s CEO, is quoted in the report talking up Cleva’s prospects in a market that is already dominated by fintech giants like Flutterwave, Chipper Cash, and others. She also highlighted her and her fellow co-founder’s backgrounds as another factor that counts in the startup’s favor as it targets a share of the $18 billion market.

“We’re starting with Nigeria because we know the market and it’s also a big market. But we feel like because of our backgrounds, we’re very well positioned to solve this problem at a global scale,” said the CEO.

To support this assertion, Alabi revealed that in the four months following its launch, the fintech startup has helped thousands of Nigerians open U.S.-based accounts. She added that Cleva now processes over $1 million in monthly payments and has experienced a 100% month-on-month revenue growth.

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