Start-Ups

Cleva Secures $1.5 Million Pre-Seed Funding For International Payments in Africa

Cleva imposes a 0.9% fee on deposits into clients' USD accounts, with a fee cap of $20.

Cleva imposes a 0.9% fee on deposits into clients' USD accounts, with a fee cap of $20.
Cleva [Yahoo Finance]

In a groundbreaking move, Cleva, a Nigerian fintech startup, has successfully raised $1.5 million in pre-seed funding. The company, founded in 2023 by Tolu Alabi (CEO) and Philip Abel (CTO), is poised to enhance international payments in Africa by providing users with the capability to send USD internationally and generate professional invoices. This development places Cleva in a competitive position within the remittance market, where notable platforms like Flutterwave’s Send, Chipper Cash, Lemfi, and Afriex already operate.

Cleva’s innovative products aim to offer US-based accounts to individuals and companies in Africa, allowing them to receive US dollars seamlessly. Users can open USD accounts by submitting their Bank Verification Number (BVN) and a government-issued ID. While Cleva currently focuses on USD accounts, other fintech companies like Geegpay provide GBP and EUR accounts. The startup is actively developing digital products such as USD cards and savings in US assets, with plans to expand into API issuance.

Despite facing fierce competition, Tolu Alabi underscores the persistent challenge for African businesses and individuals to receive international payments for their services and goods. Cleva distinguishes itself from competitors through its emphasis on customer experience and its unique business model. Since its debut in Nigeria just four months ago, the fintech claims to have processed over $1 million in payments per month for thousands of users.

Cleva estimates the market for processing payments for freelancers and remote workers in Africa to be worth a substantial $18 billion. Looking ahead, the company intends to address similar payment challenges in Latin America, Asia, and Canada. Tolu Alabi expresses confidence in their ability to tackle global issues, citing their intimate knowledge of the African market as a solid foundation.

Meanwhile, as Nigerian freelancers grapple with international payment challenges, Cleva imposes a 0.9% fee on deposits into clients’ USD accounts, with a fee cap of $20. This sets the startup apart from rivals that commonly levy an uncapped 1% fee, irrespective of the received amount. By capping fees, Cleva aims to provide a more transparent and cost-effective solution for its users.

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