Zone Secures $40 Million in Funding Round Led by Flourish Ventures and TLcom Capital

Afritech Media
By Afritech Media 7 Min Read

Zone, Africa’s rapidly expanding payment infrastructure company, has officially disclosed the successful completion of an oversubscribed seed funding round, raising a substantial $8.5 million. This round was spearheaded by esteemed venture capital firms Flourish Ventures and TLcom Capital.

This development signifies a significant milestone for Zone, propelling the company forward on its path to establish a Blockchain-based decentralized payment infrastructure tailored for financial services providers across Africa and beyond.

Leveraging the transformative capabilities of blockchain technology, Zone’s network ensures the delivery of dependable, seamless, and universally interoperable payment solutions at scale to financial service entities and their clientele. Notably, Zone holds a distinctive position as the inaugural regulated blockchain network for payments in Africa, having already secured partnerships with over 15 of the continent’s leading banks and fintech enterprises.

The fresh injection of capital will empower Zone to broaden the reach of its network domestically, fostering connections with additional banks and financial services entities. A notable portion of the funds will be allocated towards executing an extensive pilot program in 2025 to evaluate the Company’s cross-border functionalities. Central to Zone’s agenda is the strategic objective of positioning itself to expand its presence throughout Africa, facilitating Intra-African and international payments and inching closer towards its vision of establishing a global payment network.

Flourish Ventures, a forward-looking global fintech venture firm with a purpose-driven ethos, will furnish Zone with a global outlook, access to influential industry networks, and profound expertise in African fintech landscapes, paving the way for entry into new markets.

Concurrently, UK-based TLcom Capital will provide indispensable local credibility and a deep understanding of the African tech sphere, leveraging existing relationships with key stakeholders in Nigeria to establish a robust foundation for Zone within its home market.

Among the cohort of investors in this funding round are prominent VC firms with a focus on blockchain technology, including Digital Currency Group (DCG), VKAV (Verod-Kepple Africa Ventures), and Alter Global, each contributing specialized sector knowledge and credibility.

These investments, occurring amidst a backdrop of dwindling start-up funding, serve as a testament to investor confidence in Zone’s mission to revolutionize payment infrastructure in Africa, aiming to connect every form of monetary value storage and establish a regulated, decentralized global payment ecosystem.

Furthermore, the endorsement and financial backing from Endeavor Catalyst underscore Zone’s standing as a frontrunner in Africa’s fintech evolution, underscoring the company’s alignment with the entrepreneurial spirit propelling technological innovation and economic advancement.

Obi Emetarom, CEO and co-founder of Zone, expressed his sentiments regarding the funding round, emphasizing the high-caliber participation of investors despite the prevailing funding challenges. This, he noted, reflects a deep trust in the Zone brand and investor enthusiasm for the opportunity to redefine payment infrastructure on the African continent.

As Zone embarks on this new phase, the team is invigorated, with a renewed commitment to reshaping Africa’s payment landscape. The collective expertise and global reach of new investors and existing shareholders, including CCA, Lateral Capital, Constant Ventures, and V8, position them as invaluable partners in advancing Zone’s mission to connect every form of monetary value storage and enable real-time payments across borders.

Ameya Upadhyay, Partner at Flourish Ventures, highlighted the groundbreaking nature of Zone’s technology in enabling direct communication among payment ecosystem participants, heralding a new era of reliability, speed, and cost-efficiency in transactions across various platforms.

The potential for Zone’s technology to be replicated globally for advancing payment innovation resonates with investors, bolstered by the seasoned leadership of Obi and Wale, industry veterans driving the company’s trajectory forward.

Ido Sum, Partner at TLcom Capital, conveyed enthusiasm about partnering with Zone’s co-founders, Obi Emetarom and Wale Onawunmi, in their pursuit of establishing a pioneering fintech enterprise leveraging advanced blockchain solutions to address critical payment system challenges.

The innovative infrastructure developed by Zone holds promise in delivering substantial value to financial institutions, enhancing the overall payment experience for end-users, and reducing costs for millions of consumers and businesses reliant on digital payments in Africa daily.

TLcom’s collaboration with Zone aims to leverage complementary experiences, networks, and expertise to support the Company in achieving its ambitious scale objectives.

Zone operates as a regulated blockchain network facilitating digital currency payments and acceptance. Its Layer-1 Blockchain network digitizes Fiat payments, facilitating the transition to digital currencies while integrating previously underserved financial institutions into an all-encompassing payment ecosystem.

Zone, Africa’s premier decentralized payment network, empowers participating institutions to engage directly in payment transactions without intermediaries, streamlining settlement, reconciliation, and dispute management processes. Collaborating with top-tier talents across the continent, the Company lays the groundwork for a decentralized future in financial services, striving to connect every form of monetary value storage through blockchain technology.

Flourish Ventures invests in mission-driven entrepreneurs and industry influencers dedicated to fostering a fair financial system. Managing $850 million in patient capital, the venture capital firm’s global portfolio features leading fintech entities such as Chime, Fair Money, Flutterwave, GrabFinancial, Heru, Hummingbird, Kin Insurance, M2P, Neon, and ShopUp, alongside other high-growth enterprises. Flourish leverages networks of policy innovators, trailblazers, and industry experts to effect systemic change and influence the financial landscape positively.

Established in 1999, with operational bases in Lagos, Nairobi, and London, TLcom manages $350 million in VC assets across Africa and Europe.

In January 2022, the firm announced the initial closing of its $150 million TIDE Africa Fund II, dedicated to fostering technology and innovation in Africa. TLcom’s portfolio encompasses notable entities such as Andela (Nigeria), Fairmoney (Nigeria), uLesson (Nigeria), Pula (Kenya), Shara (Kenya), Autochek (Nigeria), Illa (Egypt), and Littlefish (South Africa), among others.

The firm has realized successful exits in Africa VC, with Upstream acquired by Actis and Movirtu acquired by BlackBerry. TLcom’s investment approach integrates capital infusion with strategic, operational, and financial support to empower entrepreneurs in realizing their visions.

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