Startups & Ideas

Zone Secures $8.5 Million in Seed Funding to Expand Decentralised Payments in Africa

International venture capital firms Flourish Ventures and TLcom Capital lead investment round in Africa's first regulated layer-1 blockchain dedicated to payments.

Zone, a rapidly growing African payments infrastructure company, today announced it has closed an $8.5 million seed funding round. The round was led by Flourish Ventures and TLcom Capital, demonstrating strong investor confidence despite a slowdown in start-up funding globally.

The funding paves the way for Zone to build out its blockchain-based decentralised payments infrastructure, designed to bring seamless, reliable, and affordable payment solutions to financial services providers across Africa and beyond.

Zone Approach to Transforming African Payments

Zone’s unique approach leverages blockchain technology, a secure and transparent way to record transactions on a distributed digital ledger. This enables Zone to facilitate direct and frictionless payments across Africa without the need for intermediaries. Not only does this streamline processes, but it also has the potential to reduce costs and time for financial institutions and customers alike. Zone already has agreements with over 15 major African banks and fintechs.

The new funding will power Zone’s expansion within Africa, focusing on connecting more institutions to its network. Additionally, Zone plans a cross-border pilot program in 2025, laying the foundation to enable both intra-African and international payments – a crucial step toward the company’s global vision.

Strategic Investments

Flourish Ventures brings its experience investing in purpose-driven fintech, offering Zone a global network and extensive African expertise. TLcom Capital’s strong ties with Nigerian decision-makers and its deep understanding of the African tech landscape will bolster Zone’s position in its domestic market.

Other notable investors include Digital Currency Group (DCG), VKAV, Alter Global, and Endeavor Catalyst – their participation underscores confidence in Zone’s mission to connect global monetary stores of value using a regulated, decentralised financial infrastructure.

What they said:

“The participation of high-quality investors despite the funding drought and the fact that we had more interested investors than we needed, is a sign of trust in the Zone brand and investor excitement about the opportunity to redefine payment infrastructure in Africa. As we step into this new phase at Zone, we are re-energized and our commitment to transforming Africa’s payment infrastructure is renewed. Our new investors and existing shareholders including CCA, Lateral Capital, Constant Ventures and V8 bring more than just financial backing as their global scope and deep expertise make them invaluable partners for us. With their support, we are poised to accelerate our mission to connect every monetary store of value and enable real-time payments within and across geographical borders. Zone is committed to staying at the forefront of technological advancement and industry evolution in financial services.” – Obi Emetarom, CEO and co-founder of Zone.

“For the first time in Africa, Zone’s technology enables direct communication between participants in the payment ecosystem. We believe this is a fundamental leap that will allow customers to experience a completely new standard of reliability, speed and cost efficiency at the ATM, at POS machines and online. We are excited by the potential for Zone’s technology to be replicated across borders to advance payment innovation globally. The fact that Zone is led by Obi and Wale who are veterans of the banking industry reinforces our conviction that Zone can fulfil our shared goal of moving the entire sector forward” – Ameya Upadhyay, Partner at Flourish Ventures

“We are thrilled to partner with Obi Emetarom and Wale Onawunmi, co-founders of Zone, on their journey to build a category-defining fintech company that is using advanced blockchain technology to solve a critical payments system challenge. The Company’s innovative infrastructure has the potential to deliver tremendous value to financial institutions, enhancing the overall payments experience for end-users and driving down costs for hundreds of millions of consumers and businesses that rely on digital payments in Africa every day. We have no doubt that Zone, led by Obi and Wale, is on its way to transform into a global company over time, and TLcom is excited to bring its complementary experience, networks and expertise to support the Company in fulfilling its impressive scale ambitions” – Ido Sum, Partner at TLcom Capital

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