More
    HomeEcosystem NewsSudanese Fintech Startup Elevate Escapes Unrest, Lands $5M for Global Play

    Sudanese Fintech Startup Elevate Escapes Unrest, Lands $5M for Global Play

    Published on

    spot_img

    Fintech startup Elevate, previously known as Bloom, has secured $5 million in a pre-Series A investment round from Negma Group, a UAE-based investment firm. This funding round brings the total amount raised by Elevate to $10 million, including previous seed funding from notable investors such as Y Combinator, Global Founders Capital, Venture Souq, and Visa. The specific breakdown of debt and equity in the latest funding round was not disclosed.

    “The rise of remote work and freelancing is a game-changer for emerging markets in the Middle East and Africa,” said Khalid Keenan, CEO of Elevate. “Platforms like Upwork, Maqsam, and Deel have empowered talent from countries like Egypt to earn in USD on a global scale. However, existing solutions for receiving USD payments have been costly and inefficient. Elevate’s mission is to ensure freelancers and remote workers keep as much of their hard-earned money as possible by minimising fees and simplifying the process.”

    The primary intent behind this investment is to fuel Elevate’s expansion into new markets, particularly Indonesia, South Africa, and Turkey. Elevate’s pivot from its original focus on Sudanese customers to broader emerging markets indicates a strategic shift in response to regional instability and new market opportunities. The fintech aims to provide USD-based financial services that help protect against currency devaluation and facilitate cross-border payments, especially for freelancers and remote workers.

    Why the Investors Invested

    The decision to invest in Elevate by Negma Group and previous investors is driven by several compelling factors. One significant reason is the fintech’s potential to address critical financial challenges in emerging markets, such as currency devaluation and high remittance fees. By offering USD-based savings accounts, low-cost FX transfers, and other digital banking services, Elevate positions itself as a solution to these pervasive issues.

    Investors are also likely attracted by Elevate’s strong founding team, which includes professionals with experience at major tech companies like Amazon, Meta, IBM, and Goldman Sachs. This expertise lends credibility to their ability to navigate complex and volatile markets. Additionally, the company’s initial success in raising $6.5 million and attracting high-profile angel investors, such as Dropbox co-founder Arash Ferdowsi and former N26 CEO Nicolas Kopp, underscores its growth potential and viability.

    Moreover, Elevate’s pivot to serve a growing demographic of freelancers and remote workers across Africa and other emerging markets highlights a significant market opportunity. This sector has been expanding rapidly, with many workers requiring efficient and cost-effective financial solutions to receive payments from international employers. Elevate’s focus on providing FDIC-insured accounts and low-cost ACH payments aligns well with the needs of this target audience, making it an attractive investment proposition.

    A Look at Elevate

    Elevate was founded in early 2022, initially under the name Bloom, and was the first startup from Sudan to be accepted into Y Combinator. The founding team includes Abdigani Diriye, Ahmed Ismail, Youcef Oudjidane, and Khalid Keenan, who bring experience from prestigious companies like Amazon, Meta, IBM, and Goldman Sachs.

    Essentially, Elevate offers debit cards for online spending and provides market-leading foreign exchange (FX) rates when sending money home. The fintech’s financial solutions protect users against currency devaluation and high inflation, offering high-yield savings accounts, free FX, and adjacent digital banking services based on the US dollar. Users can transfer funds back to their local USD accounts for a flat fee of $10. Funds deposited in Elevate accounts are held securely with Bangor Savings Bank, a 172-year-old institution in Maine, USA. This partnership ensures FDIC insurance up to $250,000 for all customer deposits held with Bangor, providing unparalleled security for residents in countries like Egypt, the Philippines, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.

    Elevate’s primary markets include East and North Africa, with initial targeting of countries such as Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Tanzania.

    Following political upheaval in Sudan and a strategic pivot, Elevate expanded its focus to other emerging markets with large populations of freelancers and remote workers. This pivot included shifting operations to Egypt, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Bangladesh, and partnering with Bangor Savings Bank in the US to offer FDIC-insured USD accounts.

    Elevate’s products simplify receiving payments for non-US residents from US employers and platforms such as Upwork, Toptal, Fiverr, and Deel. The company aims to provide secure, cost-effective financial services, including low-cost FX transfers and ACH payments. Since its rebranding and strategic pivot, Elevate has signed up over 150,000 users and continues to grow its presence in new markets.

    Despite the challenging political landscape in Sudan, Elevate remains committed to the region and plans to re-establish a physical headquarters there once stability returns. In the meantime, the company continues to explore new markets and expand its product offerings, with a focus on driving down FX rates and providing robust financial solutions to remote workers and freelancers globally.

    Charles Rapulu Udoh has carved a niche at the forefront of Africa’s booming tech scene. With years of experience, Udoh has become a go-to expert for multi-million dollar deals in venture capital, private equity, and intellectual property across a vast landscape — from Delaware and New York to Singapore and South Africa. But his expertise extends beyond just the legalese. Udoh is also a corporate governance, data privacy, and tax whiz. An award-winning writer and researcher, he’s passionate about chronicling Africa’s startup story, cementing his position as a true pioneer in the field.

    Latest articles

    $500K Up for Grabs: Moroccan Diaspora’s MFounders Targets High-Potential Startups

    The club will focus on startups requiring initial funding between $50,000 and $500,000, addressing a critical need in the funding landscape for early-stage ventures.

    Nigerian Stocks Go Mobile: NGX Invest Opens Stock Market to Everyone

    The platform’s launch is timely, coinciding with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) recapitalization directive, which has spurred numerous offers for subscription and rights announcements by Nigerian banks.

    South African Safetech Startup AURA Raises $1.1M Bridge Round to Democratize Safety

    The technology platform enables users to access the nearest vetted private security and medical response units through connected devices.

    Fuzé Investment Series: Togolese Media Startup Makifaa Secures Funding

    Founded in in 2023 by Doris DJAGLO and Jean Pignan, Makifaa’s unique approach blends the creative talents of local photographers with cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI) to deliver personalized media solutions within an impressive 48-hour timeframe.

    More like this

    $500K Up for Grabs: Moroccan Diaspora’s MFounders Targets High-Potential Startups

    The club will focus on startups requiring initial funding between $50,000 and $500,000, addressing a critical need in the funding landscape for early-stage ventures.

    Nigerian Stocks Go Mobile: NGX Invest Opens Stock Market to Everyone

    The platform’s launch is timely, coinciding with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) recapitalization directive, which has spurred numerous offers for subscription and rights announcements by Nigerian banks.

    South African Safetech Startup AURA Raises $1.1M Bridge Round to Democratize Safety

    The technology platform enables users to access the nearest vetted private security and medical response units through connected devices.