Earlier this week, leading African Bitcoin startup BitPesa secured a $2.5 mln funding round from leading venture capital firms including Draper VC, Blockchain Capital, BnkToTheFuture, Digital Currency Group and Pantera Capital.

To date, the startup has secured mlns of dollars in funding, both in disclosed and undisclosed amounts, from key players within the Bitcoin industry, such as The BitFury Group and Pantera Capital. In 2015, Pantera Capital led a $1.1 mln funding round and BitPesa secured another investment earlier in 2016.

Over the past few years, BitPesa has focused on providing necessary financial infrastructure to the general population in countries such as Uganda, Tanzania and Nigeria. Eventually, the company expanded its operations to Europe and the UK, facilitating payments and establishing a platform wherein users can send and receive Bitcoin with ease.

With the latest multi-mln dollar funding round, BitPesa intends to allocate its resources in developing the Nigerian Bitcoin market by providing innovative and efficient financial services.

BitPesa Founder and CEO Elizabeth Rossiello stated:

“We are well on our way to achieving our goal of becoming the largest licensed payment company in the UK, Europe and Africa that offers real-time settlement at wholesale FX rates to frontier and emerging markets, with best in class compliance and customer service.”

Local startups

Currently, there exists a wide range of startups and companies providing global cross-border and Bitcoin trading services to users worldwide. Most notably, companies like Abra introduced a global remittance network wherein Bitcoin serves as the base currency.

However, as Tim Draper mentioned in an official statement, the importance and the value of native startups targeting local consumer base can’t be underestimated. Countries like Malaysia and the Philippines struggled to see any sort of growth in their Bitcoin markets before the emergence of robust and reliable service providers such as Coins.ph and Coins.my.

The existence of a startup that targets a single market provides a robust infrastructure which users can rely on and can be used to increase market adoption.

“It takes a locally-based team to work in the evolving landscape of frontier market financial services, and BitPesa's approach to investing in teams, infrastructure and compliance from Lagos to London gives them a strong advantage,” said Draper.

Key players in the global Bitcoin industry like Bitfury are in support of BitPesa’s efforts to provide a robust ecosystem for local Bitcoin users. When Bitfury invested in BitPesa back in 2016, the company’s CEO stated:

“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 African continent.”