Blink… And we’re five years old!
From a makeshift office in a Nairobi living room to five fully-fledged offices across Africa and Europe, BitPesa has come a long way since November 2013. As we celebrate our anniversary this year, we are very proud that our loyal customers and dedicated team have brought in such huge milestones.
Right from the beginning, we envisioned BitPesa as a service that eased cross currency transactions, becoming the first service to connect bitcoin and mobile money. The first iteration of our product enabled a customer anywhere in the world to send bitcoin, lock the rate, and not worry about the exchange risk. We travelled across Kenya to talk to people about their needs, and about how this new technology could enable fast and cheap cross-border transactions.
At the same time, we were able to empathize with their pain points, as we experienced the same struggles in our journey of growth across the East and West African region. We met entrepreneurs and freelancers who sought a solution to cash out funds in a foreign currency stuck in online accounts. Our customers have told us horror stories of wires lost for weeks while operations were at a standstill or suppliers waited. In other markets, we encountered customers who were hard hit by card limits that made it impossible to make large payments across borders.
As we grew, we saw great potential and received business requests right off the bat.
We are a business that usually pays salaries to staff in different countries in Africa, can we send them funds using Bitcoin?
How can I pay my suppliers in EUR or USD abroad?
I am a small online retailer that buys from China and sells online in Nigeria. I would like to know if it is possible to pay my suppliers in CNY?
We naturally pivoted to servicing more businesses and high-volume traders. We have conducted many surveys and focus groups across the years to listen to what they need, be it a tweak in our transaction flow or creating a whole new product for a specific segment. Our customers have taught us to move with the times and with them. We are proud to walk with you every step of the way in easing the way you do business in Africa.
Currently, we are building three products that continue to grow through the diligence and attention of the entire BitPesa team. BFX is dedicated to all things treasury and foreign exchange. The ongoing development of Pesi is intended to give all our traders the undivided attention and customized tools they need to trade cryptocurrencies for local currencies in the comfort of their homes or offices on both mobile and desktop devices. Our API, released in 2016, processes thousands of transactions everyday for people using remittance apps across the world to send money back home. From monthly numbers in the thousands, today, BitPesa processes millions of dollars in transactions, growing 20% month over month.
Our CEO and COO founded BitPesa to be a supportive and dynamic workplace where everyone would look forward to coming in every day. This has never changed, and now more than ever we’re committed to fostering a workplace that every member of our growing team — 60 and counting — loves and grows along. Our people come from all over the world, making BitPesa the melting pot of cultures and experiences. Our core values have always revolved around accountability, creativity and teamwork. We are passionate about our customers and the products we continue to develop everyday.
Our departments have grown in leaps and bounds, from the days everyone handled customer support to a best-in-class account management and customer relations team in every country we serve. We’re local and global, a company with roots in Africa and expanding across the world. Our exemplary finance team is a mixed bag of years worth of accounting, treasury and trading experience. Our product, engineering, compliance and operations team keeps the cogs, making BitPesa the success story that it is today.
We have been through tough times but never backed down. Grit is another core value we uphold, necessary in our markets. When you go through both tough and happy times together, the bonds grow tighter and your goals align. What seemed insurmountable at the beginning is a lesson today. We welcome new teammates who share this spirit everyday across our offices growing everyday. Check out our careers page for the latest openings!
BitPesa has hit major milestones since 2013, from being recognized by some of the prestigious institutions in the world to expanding into new markets at an accelerating pace, and ever more this year, as we turn 5. In January, we welcomed TransferZero into the family, becoming the first African startup to acquire a European company and growing our infrastructure to offer even more seamless services to our customers. We expanded into Ghana and more countries will be available in our network in a few months. Our core products evolved this year, with BFX and the API, Pesi and TransferZero shaping up to cater to our different customer segments.
Our CEO has been named by YahooFinance and Fortune as one of the most promising entrepreneurs transforming business with technology. In June, BitPesa was named one of the most promising Technology Pioneers in 2018 by the World Economic Forum. Just last month, we joined the Endeavour network, becoming the first to represent Nigeria in the global network that recognizes high-impact companies. And just last week, we closed another round of funding from SOMPO — a beautiful birthday gift to BitPesa!
We have always been at the forefront of embracing new technology to pave new paths for businesses and individuals in tough markets. We have been first in wading unregulated waters to help craft policies and regulations for posterity, and we will continue with this mission. We’re accelerating business growth in frontier markets by reducing long-held friction in cross-border transactions. In addition to the current customers that we serve, we will go above and beyond to seek out companies and emerging segments that continue to face difficulties in cross currency transactions. The heart and soul of this endeavour is having our eyes and ears on the ground and listening to what customers, both current and potential, want.
Where do we go from here? Only up. We’re excited for the many more years to come of greater milestones, growth and collaboration. We will share titbits of wisdom we have gathered as we celebrate with you. Thank you for walking this journey with us!
Happy Anniversary, BitPesa.