In November 2014, BitPesa celebrated its first birthday. We’ve seen huge growth of our Bitcoin to Kenyan Shilling (KES) remittance product, and we’ve started sales of Bitcoin in Kenya and Ghana. We now have a team of 9 full-time employees, and recently closed a follow-on round of $1.1M. CGAP’s blog post about us on the World Bank’s website also made it to the 2014 Top Ten Editor’s Picks and we were just featured in Fast Company and TechCrunch. It’s been a huge year for us.
The November funding round brought our 2014 total equity to over $1.7M. This latest raise was led by Pantera Capital Management LP with support from the Crypto Currency Partners LP, Stephens Investment Management LLC, and existing shareholders: the Bitcoin Opportunity Corporation and Future/Perfect Ventures, among others. We have been happy to add Dan Morehead of Pantera Capital Management LP to our Board of Directors, joining Joseph Mucheru, Duncan Goldie-Scot and Jalak Jobanputra. We will now be expanding across the region to meet the demand for truly low-cost international transfers. BitPesa is just one third of the price of banks and traditional remittance companies, and is the only company filling this market gap in East Africa and now Ghana.
We have been inspired by getting to know our customers. Our average trade amount increases daily and each user is trading more frequently every month – we are seeing real traction. BitPesa is also working with international businesses in the region, such as Give Directly, which has just sent its first trade through our platform. Last month we started selling bitcoins and that has been well received by Kenyan and Ghanaian small businesses needing to make payments abroad. We have had to hire an additional trading assistant to handle our January volumes despite this being a beta soft launch.
Our sales team has organized a full calendar of events across East Africa this quarter, starting with our “Nairobi Traders Workshop” at the Sankara Hotel this Friday, Feb 13th. We are also planning events in Kisumu, Mombasa, and Accra. Keep an eye-out for our fresh new site design and launch of Bitcoin buy/sell in Tanzania and Uganda in the next few weeks – as BitPesa keeps up the pace making the fastest, easiest and lowest-cost international transfer products for Africa.
CEO / Founder, BitPesa