NIGERIA – Bitmama, a female-led African blockchain startup, has announced a pre-seed raise of US$350,000 to will enable it to grow its operational presence, expand its team as well as penetrate new markets across the continent.

The round was led by San Francisco-based VC, Flori Ventures, with participation from Nigeria-based investment fund Emergence Capital, Fedha Capital, and a host of VCs and angel investors.

Founded in 2019 by Ruth Iselema, Bitmama provides a secured blockchain infrastructure that allows users across Africa to perform cryptocurrency transactions. The startup currently operates in Nigeria and Ghana at the moment.

The payments platform enable the exchange and sale of cryptocurrencies and cross-border payments transactions. Its cross-border payment option, Changera, allows users to send and receive money internationally, purchase airtime and data and also pay utility bills from anywhere in the world.

“The rate of crypto adoption in Africa has been surprisingly fast but anticipated. All over Africa, more than 3 million users now perform crypto transactions on the day-to-day,” the CEO, Ruth Iselema said.

“Most importantly, we are thrilled to have strong financial backers with global credibility and track records, who are keen on supporting our mission to ensure crypto and cross-border transactions across Africa are done efficiently and safely for users and businesses.”

In Nigeria where the government has banned cryptocurrency, Bitmama like its peers has managed to stay in play by operating the peer-to-peer model. To ensure a credible process, Bitmama has a rigorous 3-tier verification process.

“The rate of crypto adoption in Africa has been surprisingly fast but anticipated.”

Ruth Iselema – CEO, Bitmama


The CEO, a trained pharmacist went into the Blockchain space after she was scammed of 250,000 while trading Bitcoin. This spurred her to build Bitmama, an exchange platform. The Germany based startup currently has about 15-20 remote employees.

According to the founders, so far, Bitmama has processed more than $6 million in transaction volume this year, with over 15,000 active users across its two offerings. With the funding acquired, the startup hopes to expand into Francophone African countries, Kenya and Europe.

Instead of adding new products, the capabilities of the existing product will be expanded with new features. This will be the purpose of hiring new talents.

Speaking on the investment, Maria Alegre, General Partner and Co-founder of Flori Ventures mentioned that their investment in Bitmama was a result of the VC’s interest in their operations.

“We’ve partnered with Bitmama to help them in their growth journey,” she said.

“We are particularly interested in projects that explore universal basic income, community commerce, community currencies, natural-capital-backed currencies, accessible DeFi primitives, earnings platforms, peer-to-peer marketplaces.”

Over the next few months, Iselema says the company will be looking to support the Blockchain ecosystem and developers via hackathons and opening up its wallet API to allow developers to build new products on it.

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