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Tiger Global leads $3M round in Zambia’s Union54 for its card-issuing API

  • October 27, 2021
  • 2 min read
Tiger Global leads $3M round in Zambia’s Union54 for its card-issuing API

Union54, the first Zambian startup backed by Y Combinator, has gotten another major venture capital firm on its term sheet: Tiger Global.

The company confirmed  that the VC juggernaut led its just-completed $3 million seed round, coming only two months after graduating from Y Combinator’s summer batch.

San Francisco-based venture capital firm Runa Capital, Ace & Company, Todd & Rahul Angel Fund and Vibe VC participated.

The Zambian fintech also received checks from angel investors such as Babs Ogundeyi, the CEO of Nigerian neobank Kuda; Risana Zitha, managing director of Renaissance Capital; and Gbenga Ajayi, director of SMB Growth at Wise.

Union54 is an API that allows African software companies to issue and manage their debit cards without needing a bank or third-party processor.

Co-founders and couple Perseus Mlambo and Alessandra Martini started Union54 this year as a spinoff from their previous company, Zazu, a challenger bank they launched six years ago.

Card issuing is a space that is increasingly becoming regionalized, owing to different regulations per geography. And at Zazu, the founders found it difficult and time-consuming to issue cards to its customers. While working on the problem, they identified the skewed incentives when interacting with card issuers. And they launched Union54 not only to solve that problem for themselves but other fintechs.

Since joining Y Combinator, Zazu has been in stealth mode and only went live this month, CEO Mlambo told said

He added that over 50 companies are currently in Union54’s API sandbox environment. They range from digital banks to post-Series A fintechs and “companies founded on the basis of Union54’s availability.”

Four companies are currently live in production and have begun issuing virtual cards to their customers. Mlambo says 30 more could join before the end of the year. For these companies, the average time it takes to start production and begin issuance takes three to nine days, said the CEO.

Its partners include African unicorn Flutterwave and newer companies such as Payday and Plumter (cross-border fintechs) and crypto exchange platform Bitmama.

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Incuabte Africa

Incubate Africa, founded on June 5, 2016, is a Tech company based and Founded in Africa with the main focus of showcasing African-developed technology to the rest of the world. We strongly believe in what Africa has to offer the world. #Revolutionizing the startup culture

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