July 12, 2022

Senegal-Based Fintech Startup Wave Raises $91.5M In Funding

Senegal-based fintech startup, Wave, raises a syndicated loan of $91.5 million from International Finance Corporation (IFC), Blue Orchard, Symbiotics, responsAbility, and Lendable.

Wave Mobile Money, founded by Drew Durbin and Lincoln Quirk in 2018, has quickly grown to become the largest mobile money remittance in Senegal. In 2021, the company closed the most extensive Series A round for an African fintech at $200 million. The digital fintech platform uses technology to build a radically inclusive and affordable financial network.

As a result, Wave has built a life-changing economic infrastructure for citizens who do not own a bank account and has also contributed to further advancing digital economy solutions in West Africa.

“Wave’s vision of making Africa the first cashless continent by building affordable and user-centric solutions matches IFC’s ambitions of universal financial inclusion,” said Coura Sene, Wave Mobile Money’s Regional Director for the West African Economic and Monetary Union.

“This investment by IFC and other lenders helps us offer diverse financial products, encouraging users to stay within the formal financial sector, deepening financial inclusion in the region.”

The fintech startup, which uses a peer-to-peer money transfer service, runs a small network of local businesses that use their on-hand cash to service Wave users.

Wave sets itself apart from other competitors because all deposits and withdrawals on the platform are free. Users only have to pay 1% to send money. Furthermore, customers without smartphone access can use Wave’s free QR card, allowing anyone to make transactions with an agent.

The funding will expand the platform’s services in Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal. Wave also hopes to grow its customer base and enhance its product service.

“From day one, we’ve been relentlessly focused on building mobile money that’s easy-to-use and radically affordable,” said Drew Durbin, CEO and founder of Wave. “We’ve built something people love in Senegal, but that’s only the beginning – our mission is to bring a modern financial network to everyone in Africa.”

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Kumba Kpakima

Kumba Kpakima is a reporter at POCIT. A documentary about the knife crime epidemic in the UK got her a nomination for the UK's #30toWatch Young Journalists of the Year.