The funding round was led by Chinese company Transsion’s subsidiary, TECNO, with participation from China’s NetEase and wireless communications hardware firm MediaTek. As part of the deal, PalmPay has now established a strategic partnership with mobile companies TECNO, Infinix and Itel, with its app being pre-installed on 20 million phones next year.
The startup, which is working to become Africa’s largest financial services platform, will use its new funding to grow its financial services business in Ghana. PalmPay CEO Greg Reeve said there are a plans to expand to additional countries in 2020.
PalmPay will offer 10 percent cash back in Nigeria on airtime purchases, and bank transfer rates as low as ₦10 ($0.02 USD). The company received its approval from the Nigerian Central Bank in July, as well as registered 100,000 users and processed 1 million transactions during its pilot phase.
As the continent’s largest economy and most populous nation, Nigeria has attracted a variety of new digital payment companies, including Chipper Cash, Paga and Interswitch. Reeve believes his company can thrive because of several advantages, most notably its support from Transsion and partnership with TECNO.
“On channel and access, we’re going to be pre-installed on all TECNO phones. Your’e gonna find us in the TECNO stores and outlets. So, we get an immediate channel and leg up in any market we operate in,” said Reeve, adding that the company has formed a significant partnership with Visa. “We signed a strategic alliance with Visa, so now I can deliver Visa products on top of my wallet, link my wallet to Visa products and give access to someone who’s completely unbanked to the whole of the Visa network.”
Reeve also has significant experience in the industry, serving as Vodafone’s global head of M-Pesa, and as a general manager for Millicom’s FinTech products across Africa and Latin America, before joining PalmPay.
“I’ve had my fingers in mobile financial services for the last 10 years,” he said.