Pantera Leads $1.1 Million Funding for African Bitcoin Startup BitPesa

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Kenya-based bitcoin services provider BitPesa has raised $1.1m as part of a new funding round led by hedge fund Pantera Capital.

Additional participants in the round included VC firmsBitcoin Opportunity Corp, Crypto Currency Partners,Future/Perfect Ventures and Stephens Investment Management.

BitPesa CEO Elizabeth Rossiello explained that funding comes at a time when the nine-member team is still evolving its core services and seeking to identify the target consumers for whom the offering will be most appealing.

The service currently enables the exchange of bitcoin for Kenyan Shillings, and allows users in Kenya and Ghana to send fiat funds to popular mobile money wallets.

Rossiello told CoinDesk, “We’ve had our heads down building a solid product, and now we’re hiring to grow. A big part of that is expanding our team to help us grow in other markets where we see the demand.”

Investors see this big-picture vision as well, with Crypto Currency Partners managing partner W Bradford Stephens suggesting that BitPesa is part of a broader trend to position bitcoin as an enabler of financial inclusion.

“The blockchain doesn’t just enable financial services to four billion of the ‘unbanked’ in developing countries, it connects them to the globalized online economy,” Stephens said.

Source: CoinDesk (link opens in a new window)