FUNDING | Nigerian Blockchain Startup, Zone, Raises $8.5 Million, Aims to Expand Use Cases and Technology

As reported by BitKE, Zone was the only blockchain company that made it to the 2023 list of Africa's fastest-growing companies.

Zone, a Nigerian blockchain startup facilitating payment processing for banks and fintechs, has secured $8.5 million in its first venture capital funding round since becoming an independent entity in 2022.

Zone which, as reported by BitKE, was the only blockchain company that made it to the list of Africa’s fastest-growing companies 2023 will look to improve its technology, especially in terms of instant settlements. The company will also roll out more use cases for its blockchain network beyond ATMs to reach more users.

The company seeks to expand the coverage of its network domestically and connect more banks and financial services companies.  Zone runs a blockchain network that enables direct transaction flow between financial service providers without an intermediary. It automates settlement, reconciliation, and dispute management.

According to Zone, more than 15 of Africa’s leading banks and fintech companies utilize its network for payment processing. Notably:

  • Access Bank Plc
  • Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, and
  • United Bank of Africa,

three of Nigeria’s largest banks with market capitalizations exceeding ₦1 trillion ($86 billion), are among its clients.

The round was led by:

  • Flourish Ventures, and
  • TLcom Capital, a pan-African venture capital fund.

Other investors include international blockchain-focused VC firms:

  • Digital Currency Group
  • Verod-Kepple Africa Ventures
  • Alter Global


“We are excited by the potential for Zone’s technology to be replicated across borders to advance payment innovation globally,” Ameya Upadhyay, Partner at Flourish Ventures said.


According to Obi Emetarom, CEO and Co-Founder of Zone, the company stands out for the uniqueness of its product, while the founders have a wealth of experience in the banking industry. The company prides itself as the first decentralized payment network powered by blockchain to be licensed in the whole of Africa.


“We aren’t building the interface for the end users, we are building the API that banks, fintechs, and other financial service providers can integrate their payment applications to,” Emeratom said.


While the company intends to allocate a portion of the new funding to conduct an extensive pilot program to evaluate its cross-border capabilities, in readiness to introduce a remittance product in 2025, that is not their main focus.


“Right now, the focus is to build out the capabilities domestically on the technology side and use cases.”




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