Ugandan startup Eversend, a digital-only finance platform providing cross-border money transfers among other services, is entering its “growth and expansion phase” in 2022 after achieving sustainability last year.
Founded by Stone Atwine and Ronald Kasendwa in 2017 and launched to the public in 2019, Eversend is an all-in-one payments platform offering cross-border payments, virtual cards, currency exchange, and crypto buying and selling, focusing on Africa.
In addition, the startup is building financial infrastructure for collections, payouts, currency exchange, and crypto through a web app and APIs.
“We are the leading FX startup on the continent, and our crypto-fiat business offering leveraging stablecoins solves massive payments problems for organisations doing business in or with Africa,” Atwine told Disrupt Africa.
The problem the payments app is attempting to solve is a big one. The World Bank says more than 350 million Africans do not have access to bank accounts, and although 43 per cent of the US$40 billion received in remittances in Sub-Saharan Africa is from other African countries, solutions like Wise and WorldRemit only consider Africa as a receiver rather than a sender location.
“In addition, there is massive currency devaluation, high-interest rates, predatory pricing of up to 15 per cent in hidden forex fees, inadequate payments infrastructure, and mediocre digital banking experiences,” said Atwine.
Eversend aims to fix all this. The startup already has slightly more than 300,000 registered users, and is continuing to grow.
“In 2021, we processed US$230 million from US$5 million in 2020 and US$800,000 in our first year of 2019. We hit our goal of sustainability last year, and we are entering our growth and expansion phase in 2022,” said Atwine.
Building a sustainable business has long been the goal, with Eversend having a big focus on unit economics. It has focused on building products people want and listening to its customers rather than spending to much time on the fundraising trail, Atwine said, yet it has raised a total of US$1 million from angel investors, venture capitalists, and crowdfunding.
“We chose to crowdfund because it brings our supporters and users closer to us by making them stakeholders in the business. When we win, they win,” he said.
Live in Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Ghana, and Nigeria, Eversend plans to expand to Europe, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Francophone Africa soon. Atwine says the key to the growth of Eversend, which charges commissions on foreign exchange, was its all-in-one offering, something many fintech startups in Africa are starting to realise.
“Bundling multiple products in the fintech and crypto spaces allows Eversend to play at the bleeding edge of innovation. It enables us to increase the average revenue per user compared to traditional single-product fintech startups,” he said.