AZA (BitPesa): Story, Founders, Investors & Funding Rounds
BitPesa was started in 2013 and is Africa’s largest wholesale bitcoin liquidity provider for both consumers and businesses. BitPesa is different from other exchanges in Africa because it allows instant settlement in many different currencies and has the most liquid market of any exchange in Africa.
BitPesa was the first blockchain company to get a license from the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority. It uses strict Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures. It has handled more than $500 million in transactions.
It is now a well-respected provider of solutions for currency trading that speed up international access to frontier markets through cutting-edge infrastructure.
AZA can make business payments to and from frontier regions much cheaper and faster by using technology in its main products, TransferZero and BFX.
The application programming interface (API) that comes with TransferZero, which is a B2B2C service, is so comprehensive that it can be used for both retail settlements and wholesale purchases of currencies.
AZA’s partners can manage liquidity and send payments to dozens of bank networks and mobile money providers across Africa because they have a hybrid financial infrastructure and a lot of local knowledge.
Additionally, it is a market maker for all the major African currencies, and it is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK and the Bank of Spain.
The company started in Nairobi, and now AZA has offices in other African capitals like Lagos, London, Luxembourg, Madrid, and Dakar.
How it Works
Setting up a BitPesa account doesn’t cost anything. For registration, you must have a valid government-issued photo ID with your full name, date of birth, and photo. Everyone who wants to join must be at least 18 years old. Your account will be checked in no more than two business days.
To open a business account with them, you need the following: Certificate of Incorporation or Certificate of Business Registration, Memorandum and Articles of Association or Company Constitution, valid identification of Director(s) and Authorized signatory(s) to operate the account, identification of Ultimate Beneficial Owners of your business, and an extract from the commercial register or business formation showing the ownership structure of the company.
After signing up for a BitPesa account, you’ll be able to buy Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and send the money to someone in their currency.
The person who receives money through BitPesa can choose between a bank account or a mobile wallet like M-Pesa. The transaction arrives the next business day after money is sent with a mobile wallet on BitPesa. In different countries, there are different rules for bank wires.
Transaction Limits, Fees, and Exchange Rates
There may be a limit to how much can be sent depending on how mobile money or cards work in the country of the recipient. The remittance fee for BitPesa is 3% of the total amount being sent.
BitPesa’s exchange rates depend on several things, like how much people want to buy and sell in each country’s market. Customers can talk to BitPesa directly to get more information about prices.
You can see the current exchange rate if you choose “New Transaction” and enter the amount of money you want to send then you will see the exchange rate instantly.
It is safe to use BitPesa to send or receive money. The Financial Conduct Authority in the UK and the Bank of Spain have both given fintech a license as a payment institution.
Elizabeth Rossiello is the CEO of BitPesa Ltd., which she and her husband, Michael Rossiello, founded together.
Elizabeth Rossiello has lived and worked in Kenya since 2009 and has been a microfinance analyst and investment associate. She has set up best practices in risk, governance, and IT for small banks in East Africa.
She worked as a Credit Suisse Analyst in Zurich and as a Robert Bosch Fellow in Frankfurt Before she went to East Africa.
Elizabeth Rossiello went to the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University and the University of Buffalo.
Charlene Chen has been the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of many startups and scaleups, including health tech company Lantum and global financial company AZA, where she worked most recently.
Since then, she has helped start an online group for people who like or are interested in the field of operations called Operations Nation.
Charlene is very interested in finding good solutions, making organizations run better, and growing high-performing teams.
Charlene Chen has a strong academic background. She has degrees from both Duke University and the University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.
Investors & Funding Rounds
The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) lent AZA $15 million to pay off debts. It has also changed the names of the things it sells.
BitPesa will help people and businesses in Africa by giving them access to bitcoin liquidity, exchange, and other services.
BFX will help small and medium-sized businesses in Africa pay and get paid in a variety of ways.
The company says it will use the money to improve how it handles transactions and increase its cash flow as it moves into new markets around the world.
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