The GONA Cashless Payment Transaction Platform has closed a multi-million dollar Pre-Series A round funding. The company will use this new funding to strengthen its presence in Nigeria, increase its popularity and better develop its product.
— Naija News Agency (@NaijaAgencyNews) August 5, 2019
Founded by Liu Xiaojun in 2018, the platform is headquartered in China, but most notably in Lagos, the centre of commerce and the most populous city in Africa. GONA has already attracted the attention of investors who have raised millions of dollars from various Chinese lenders, including Crystal Stream Capital, UnityVC and Shaka VC.
This is the latest trend of Africa-centric startups-to raise funds to start or grow their businesses this year. Not long ago, Opera’s Opay raised $50 million from several Chinese heavyweights. This goes to show that the African ecosystem is filled with many opportunities, especially in the financial sector.
“Mobile Internet and demographic dividends in Africa are in a stage of rapid development. The age structure of the population is young and the economic growth rate is high.”
Hua Wei, Managing Director, Jiuhe Venture Capital (One of GONA’s investors
As a mobile payments company, GONA targets the provision of a cashless payments system for public buses (otherwise known as Danfos) in Lagos. Using the platform, users get to scan a QR code of the driver using the app and enter the number of coins required for a particular trip embarked on to make their payments.
This way it saves users the struggle of having to make payments which in most cases leads to the problem of ‘change’, where a customer pays with a higher currency and the driver doesn’t have the correct balance to offer.
Since its launch, the platform claims it has garnered thousands of active users and gets about 10,000 transactions every day.
The platform, according to the Chinese website 163.com, has also been able to roll out in selected routes within Lagos, including Yaba to the University of Lagos (UNILAG) campus.
For Gona, this new round of financing provides a launching pad for the platform to focus on team building and product development. The investment will also allow GONA to employ more locals to help develop the product and expand its popularity in its primary market – Lagos. This will most likely lead to route expansion and eventual expansion to other commercial hotspots in West and East Africa.
“We will try to employ the best people to help the most Lagosians have a better daily commuting experience,” said Noah Gu, Co-founder of GONA.
If this is anything to go by, the startup is just about ready to take on the Nigerian market and grow its potentials
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