Blockchain payments company BitPesa makes its first acquisition

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Yahoo Finance

In its first acquisition ever, BitPesa is moving to expand its reach and cut costs.

The blockchain payments platform in Africa and Europe, which now facilitates nearly $20 million in transactions per month, has acquired TransferZero,  an international money transfer platform. TransferZero specializes in sending money to consumers and companies in 200 countries using over 50 different currencies.

BitPesa founder and CEO Elizabeth Rossiello announced the deal live on stage at Yahoo Finance’s All Markets Summit: Crypto this Wednesday in New York.

BitPesa CEO Elizabeth Rossiello at Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit: Crypto on Feb. 7, 2018.
BitPesa CEO Elizabeth Rossiello at Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit: Crypto on Feb. 7, 2018.

After the acquisition, TransferZero will continue to operate under the same name and its headquarters will remain in Madrid.

“We just doubled our bank accounts, our infrastructure, and [TransferZero] is licensed by the Bank of Spain as a payments institution,” Rossiello said of the deal. She added that it’s not a move away from Africa, but rather a move to help BitPesa better serve its clients there and also customers who have spread to Europe.

“We are a frontier market company,” she said. “That’s the heart and soul of this company, that’s where the most value is derived from this business model.”

BitPesa has been growing steadily with 24% month-over-month growth for the past two years. It closed nearly $18 million in transactions in the month of December. BitPesa says it is committed to growth and that this acquisition can accelerate month-to-month growth to continue.

Even with this rate of growth and now an acquisition, Rossiello is focused on the markets where BitPesa already operates: Africa and Europe.

“I’m never going to buy a Japanese payments company,” she said, before adding, “Well, never say never.”

As for operating in the United States, Rossiello, a native New Yorker, doesn’t see BitPesa in the US anytime soon.

“The US is a tricky place,” she said. “I just see a lot of other people here… I don’t really think the United States needs me. I’m not saying that Africa needs me, but I think Africa needs more entrepreneurs focusing on building products, and I’m happy to be doing that.”

Jen Rogers is the anchor of The Final Round, Yahoo Finance’s daily 3:55pm live show. Follow @jensaidit on Twitter or @jenrogershere on Instagram.

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