Nigerian fintech firm raises $8.5M to facilitate transition to cashless future

Nigerian fintech firm raises $8.5M to facilitate transition to cashless future

Banking-as-service startup Zone delivered solutions to 18 commercial banks in the region

For more than ten years, the Nigeria-based Appzone has played a crucial role in the banking and payment sectors across Africa. They’ve developed tailor-made software and software-as-a-service solutions for 18 commercial banks and 450 microfinance banks, extending their reach to countries like Ghana and Kenya.

In 2022, co-founded by Emeka Emetarom, Obi Emetarom, and Wale Onawunmi, the fintech software provider opted for self-innovation by embracing blockchain technology and merging it with traditional banking and payment systems. This led to the rebranding of Appzone to Zone, a licensed company focusing on blockchain-enabled payment infrastructure. Additionally, they separated their original banking-as-a-service business, forming a new standalone company called Qore. Today, Zone announced that it has raised over $8.5 million in seed funding.

Zone’s idea is simple: acknowledging that Africa’s existing payment structure might take time before it smoothly transitions to a cashless system, the fintech is crafting an interoperable payment infrastructure utilising blockchain technology, renowned for its limitless scalability. This infrastructure links banks and fintech firms, streamlining transaction processes without the need for intermediaries.

In an interview, CEO Obi Emetarom stated that Zone is Africa’s first regulated blockchain network for payments, with over 15 of the continent’s major banks already on board. At the moment, it handles local transactions for seven of these banks via ATM channels, which are among the various payment channels in Nigeria, such as POS, fund transfers, web transactions, and direct debits.

Emetarom further mentioned that eight banks are in different phases of implementation. The onboarding process may last up to six months due to internal procedures like creating testing environments and getting management approvals.

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