Zazuu, a London-based fintech that built a marketplace for African remittance companies and raised more than $2 million, has shut down, citing a lack of funding.
Zazuu, the fintech marketplace for cross-border payment networks in Africa that raised over $2 million from investors like Launch Africa and Founders Factory, has shut down after failing to raise funding. “We explored every option before making this decision,” the company said in a LinkedIn post announcing the closure.
Zazuu was founded by Kay Akinwunmi (CEO), Korede Fanilola (COO), Tosin Ekolie (CTO), and Tola Alade (CDO) in 2018 and raised a $200,000 seed round from Launch Africa and ODBA in August 2021. A year later, the company raised $2 million from Launch Africa, Founders Factory Africa, ODBA, HoaQ, Tinie Tempah, Jason Njoku, Babs Ogundeyi, and other angel investors.
Africa has the highest rate for remittance services for any continent; the average rate for sending money to the continent from Europe hovers around 9% and could be as high as 22% in some instances. Zazuu, which started as a simple Facebook and Telegram chatbot informing users of daily FX rates, evolved into a full-blown aggregator that listed more than 17 Africa-focused remittance providers on its platform before its closure.
The startup operated on the belief that a marketplace where customers could choose the cheapest remittance option could help lower prices by bringing transparency and increasing competition. Akinwunmi told TechCabal in March 2022 that Zazuu had the lowest rate anyone transferring money to Africa could get on the platform, at 1.5%. The startup also said that almost a hundred thousand users had used its Search and Compare service, which customers used to compare prices to find the best rates for sending money to Africa.
Adewunmi told TechCabal in May 2022 that one of the challenges Zazuu faced in its earlier stages was explaining to customers and potential partners what they were trying to build. He added that another challenge Zazuu faced was licensing requirements and the costs attached to them.
Zazuu’s shutdown is another in a series of startups shutting down this year as funding dries up for Africa’s tech ecosystem. By the end of October, African startups had raised less than $2.8 billion this year, which represents less than half of the $6 billion raised last year. Lazerpay, a crypto startup that shut down in April, also blamed a lack of funding for its closure. WhereIsMyTransport, a South African mobility startup, also shut down in October, citing an inability to raise new funding.