Visa and Y Combinator-backed Bloom raises $6.5m

Sudan-based Bloom, a FinTech which offers financial products aimed at improving the lives of East Africans, has raised $6.5m in a seed round.

According to a report by Web Times, the round saw participation from Visa, Y Combinator, Global Founders Capital (GFC), Goodwater Capital and UAE-based early-stage firm VentureSouq.

Other investors included angels Arash Ferdowsi, Dropbox co-founder Nicolas Kopp, former US CEO of N26 and footballers Blaise Matuidi and Kieran Gibbs, as well as early employees at Revolut and Tide.

Bloom offers fee-free accounts for users to save in dollars and buy and spend in Sudanese pounds. It also provides local and dollar cards and a feature where they can receive remittance free of charge from several countries globally.

The backing from Visa came as Bloom partnered with the company by participating in the global card’s FinTech Fast Track Program, which saw it switch its cards from Mastercard to Visa.

Earlier this year, Bloom announced that it was part of Y Combinator’s winter batch this year, following its launch from stealth that month.

Bloom’s founders said his seed round will help the Sudanese- and Dubai-based startup execute its expansion plan across the Anglo-East African region such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia.

The round is also thought to be the largest in Sudan.

Ahmed Mohey, Visa country general manager for Sudan and Libya, said, “Visa is taking the lead as a first mover in digital payments in Sudan. We are committed to being a part of Sudan’s economic transformation by bringing our global expertise and capabilities to its government and private-sector partners.

“Together with Bloom, we will continue to drive acceptance of digital payments while finding opportunities to launch new products and services to Sudanese customers and merchants.”

Last month, FinTech Global reported that FinTech funding in Africa is on track to decline in 2022.

FinTech companies in Africa completed 83 deals in the first quarter of this year, raising in total $465m. If the next three quarters follow this rate of investment, there will be a 7.9% decrease in total investments compared to last year. Despite this, the African FinTech market has still seen a large increase in interest from investors within the past four years.

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