Nigerian startup Seerbit is a payment processing platform that enables fast, seamless, inclusive and secure payments to local and global companies active on the continent. Think Stripe, but Africa-optimised.
The startup has its roots as far back as 2011, when founder Omoniyi Kolade founded Centric Gateway – a pan-African fintech company that provides customised payment solutions strictly to enterprise clients including UBA Bank, FMCB, Ecobank and Keystone Bank.
Quite successful, then, but Africa’s exponential rise in commerce activity and the growing demand for e-commerce platforms made Kolade realise that building a simple plug and play model payment solution for businesses in the online and offline space would be a great way to add value to the new market climate.
In comes Seerbit – an API-linked payment gateway developed for both online and offline businesses, banks and other marketplace companies. The Seerbit solution was launched in January 2020 to help businesses present on the continent get paid in the most seamless and secure way possible.
“Seerbit’s mission is to address the frictions and fragmentations in payments on the continent and its payment solution is targeted to businesses in the online and offline segments,” Kolade told Disrupt Africa.
The platform, then, is like Stripe, but Africa-optimised, and uptake has been swift. In 18 months, Seerbit has expanded to eight African countries and processed millions of dollars in total transaction value. Its payment gateway is being used by over 1,000 online merchants, and the startup now also has offices in Ghana, Kenya and Senegal.
“Most commercial transactions in Africa are carried out offline,” Kolade says, explaining Seerbit’s swift growth.
“However, there is an uptake in the number of businesses and entrepreneurs leveraging the internet to create efficiency and reach more customers. This surge leads to an increased need for digital payment solutions by both online and offline businesses. All kinds of businesses need flexible and effective digital payment options for their customers.”
Seerbit exists to plug this gap, by providing digital payment solutions to the next generation businesses across Africa. The startup – which earns a processing fee on transactions routed through its payment gateway – is bootstrapped thus far, but open to external funding as it plans further expansion.
“Seerbit’s decision to expand into a new market is based entirely on a comprehensive understanding of the business landscape, payment need and locality type. Seerbit’s aim is to grow its presence in East and West Africa, and in the near future is looking to expand into other emerging markets in Southern Africa,” Kolade said.