Cleva: Y Combinator-Backed African Fintech Raises $1.5M in Pre-Seed Funding Round

Nigerian fintech startup Cleva has recently made headlines by securing an impressive $1.5 million in pre-seed funding. Spearheaded by 1984 Ventures, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm, the funding round also witnessed the participation of notable investors including The Raba Partnership, Byld Ventures, FirstCheck Africa, and Y Combinator.

Founded just four months ago, Cleva has already carved a unique niche for itself in the competitive African fintech market. The startup, co-founded by Tolu Alabi and Philip Abel, former employees at major tech giants like Stripe and AWS, is making waves with its mission to streamline international payments in Africa.

Cleva’s ambitious vision extends beyond the African continent, as it aims to address the global challenge of receiving international payments. The founders, born and raised in Nigeria, emphasize that the problem they’re solving is not exclusive to Africa but rather a universal issue faced by individuals worldwide, including Latin America, Asia, and Canada.

The $1.5 million pre-seed funding signifies a significant milestone for Cleva, positioning it as a formidable player in the burgeoning African fintech space. The startup’s unique qualifications and recognition in Y Combinator’s winter 2024 batch further highlight its potential for growth and impact.

Cleva’s approach sets it apart from competitors in crucial ways. The founders emphasize a commitment to exceptional customer experience, affordability, and a user-friendly model. With ease of use and capped deposit charges not exceeding $20, Cleva aims to provide a seamless and cost-effective solution for users opening USD accounts.

Within just four months of its launch, Cleva has achieved remarkable milestones. The fintech claims to have facilitated payments exceeding $1 million monthly for thousands of users, experiencing a remarkable 100% month-on-month revenue growth. This rapid growth underscores the market demand for Cleva’s services and the founders’ ability to execute their vision effectively.

Looking ahead, Cleva has ambitious plans for diversifying its revenue streams. Upcoming products, such as USD cards and savings in U.S. assets, are in the pipeline. The startup also envisions targeting Africans in the diaspora and entering the competitive remittance category.

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