The amount of the investment was not disclosed.
Founded in November 2013, the Nairobi-based startup pitches itself as an easy way to send money to Africa, although it primarily has an East African focus, offering exchange services in Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, and Tanzania.
The company accepts Bitcoin and exchanges it for local African currencies, which are then deposited into an African bank account or into mobile money wallets, while also selling Bitcoin in Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda, for those users who do not have access to other Bitcoin exchanges.
BitPesa is licensed by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as an Authorized Payment Institution, which according to the company means that it is a more trusted solution than using informal brokers or cash agents, which are typically used for financial payments in East Africa.
“Our mission is to make global transacting easier, especially for those who continue to face obstacles to financial growth,” BitFury Chief Executive Officer Valery Vavilov said in a statement (pdf). “A secure, transparent and trusted form of exchange is being made possible by BitPesa, and our investment will allow us to work together to leverage the innovative power of the Bitcoin Blockchain for the benefit of the entire pan-African continent.”
As we wrote when BitPesa took its last round back in February 2015:
Africa presents a serious challenge for startups with large parts of it lacking electricity, let alone internet access, and if it’s argued knowledge of Bitcoin isn’t high in the West, its closer to non-existent in Africa.
A Bitcoin startup in Africa, though, provides a lot of opportunities, particularly when it comes with international money transfers. With many locals not even having access to banking, a service such as BitPesa has the potential of providing a solution to a very tangible problem.
Since that time BitPesa has grown to cover even more countries as well as continuing to expand its services, and while it isn’t going to radically change the money transfer process in East Africa tomorrow, it’s growth certainly sees it well placed going forward.
Excluding the new undisclosed investment from BitFury, BitPesa has raised $1.7 million from Pantera Capital, Crypto Currency Partners, Stephens Investment Management, Bitcoin Opportunity Corp., Future/Perfect Ventures, and Blockchain Capital; of note Blockchain Capital is also an investor in BitFury.
Image credit: Bitpesa
Duncan is a co-founder of VC funded media company B5Media and founder of news site The Inquisitr, and was a senior writer at TechCrunch in its earlier days.
Tips? Press releases? Intersting startup? email: firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Duncan on Twitter @duncanriley