Banking as a Service (BaaS) platforms have grown rapidly in the fintech world over the past 18 months. By partnering with banks, these platforms enable organizations from startups and fintech to large corporations and banks to deliver tailored banking experiences and services to their customers. .
Fintechs provide BaaS services in the US and Europe, such as Unit, Rapyd and Prime Treasury, have achieved considerable scale due to the developed banking system they enjoy in their markets. However, their partners are trying to replicate this growth in less advanced banking systems such as Africa, where the demand and scalability of such products are unproven.
In the latest developments, Maplerada fintech described by its founders Miracle Anyanwu and Obinna Chukwujioke as a global BaaS player targeting Africa, has raised $6 million in seed funding. According to sources, based in the United States Maplerad, coming out of stealth, raised the round with a $30 million valuation. The founders declined to comment.
Maplerad’s journey as a company can be traced back to 2020, when the founders launch their first product, Wirepay. The app starts with helping users make international payments by providing cross-border payment solutions in fiat and cryptocurrency. Since then, however, it has morphed into a self-described all-in-one financial product that allows users to receive, hold, and make payments in multiple currencies, create virtual and physical cards, and make payments. bill payment.
Last year, Wirepay raised an undisclosed pre-seed, which included a check for $125,000 from OnDeck. Golden Palm Investments Corporation, Greenhouse Capital, several Stash executives, and Berrywood Capital were other investors in the round.
As Wirepay grows to more than 50,000 users, mainly in Nigeria, Anyanwu, on a call with TechCrunch, said businesses are starting to ask about the internal infrastructure that powers the features on the app. their consumption. “People want to use the infrastructure that powers Wirepay, our licenses, and banking relationships,” said the CEO and CTO.
Anywanwu also mentioned that Maplerad (the parent company) has always wanted to transfer this infrastructure to other businesses. However, as requests from outside continued to pour in, they finally managed to launch Maplerad, an infrastructure product that allows companies to embed powerful financial features such as accounts, payments, and more. payment, FX, and card into their products, this August.
“From day one, when we built Wirepay for our consumers, we knew the last step would be the infrastructure even though we didn’t start the business infrastructure first. For anyone building anything financial, they have to start a lot of banks, and even before integrating the features, they have to overcome many hurdles,” the executive said. know. “One of them is banking relationships and compliance. The other is licensing. So Maplerad is solving the financial infrastructure problems for these businesses in Africa. We take that entire stack and provide the best APIs to use that can help you launch a financial product in under five minutes. So instead of a company spending 8 months and a few million dollars to start building a fintech product, you can integrate with our APIs and be up and running.”
Banking Platform as a Service has become popular with companies trying to include financial services in their offerings as large, incumbent banks have been relatively slow in bringing their services up to speed with the changing pace of the banking and technology world. As a result, banking-as-a-service platforms see an opportunity to offer more personalized services and flexibility at a lower cost. The space is heating up — some of Maplerad’s competitors in Nigeria including YC are supported AnchorUnit, OnePipe and larger fintechs like Flutterwave.
In one interview With TechCrunch this August, the Anchor CEO addressed the founding team’s technical experience, attention to security and scalability, and the speed at which businesses can operate on the platform. its background when asked about the startup’s advantage over others.
Asking a similar question, the Maplerad founders mention the platform’s “broader range of banking relationships,” the platform’s “second-hand technology,” and having “investors/partners.” best organisers”. At the same time, James Fitzgerald, a partner at Valar Ventures, speaking about the investment, said when the majority of Africa’s population remains financially excluded despite the continent’s growing economies. In this regard, “there is a huge opportunity for Maplerad, the best bank in a service solution, to provide businesses with the financial infrastructure to scale across Africa and globally quickly and seamless. “
The VC firm founded by Peter Thiel led the seed round of Maplerad, the third investment in Africa after Kuda and Yellow Card. Other investors in this round include Golden Palm Investments Corporation, Michael Vaughn (former COO, Venmo), Fintech Fund, Babs Ogundeyi (CEO, Kuda) Armyn Capital, Dunbar Capital, Strawhat Investment, Polymath Capital, Unpopular Ventures, Sean Mahsoul and MyAsiaVC. The founders said they also invested their own money in the company.
While in stealth, Maplerad has processed millions of dollars monthly for more than 100 businesses acquired on its platform, including startups like Pastel, Spleet, Bridgecard, Onboardly, Vella, Crowdforce , Dojah, GetEquity and some banks. It plans to use the investment to gain more customers, now that it’s out of stealth, getting more licenses, building a team and solidifying its presence across Africa.