Sector: Technology & Telecoms
Countries of operations: Multiple
Doing its bit
An unavoidable consequence of doing business across international borders is exchange rate risk – a risk that’s only heightened by the length of time it can take to process transactions for some African currencies. BitPesa has made it its mission to tackle such problems.
“Transacting in African currencies can incur costs of 12% and take two weeks to settle, and businesses have traditionally been left exposed to intolerable currency and counterparty risk,” says CEO Elizabeth Rossiello, who says that her company’s approach minimises foreign exchange risk.
“We buy and sell African currencies from anywhere in the world, with settlement directly to and from African bank and mobile money accounts,” she explains. “BitPesa settles in real time for as little as 1%, making it possible for businesses to scale efficiently across Africa.”
“BitPesa settles in real time for as little as 1%”
BitPesa also became the first company in the world to transact between digital currencies and mobile money. The main focus of the company’s operations today is Nigeria, although it also operates in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Senegal.
- BitPesa expects its workforce to grow continually, by up to 20% a year
The firm has grown rapidly, even during times of economic problems – indeed, its services have arguably proved even more useful during times of stress.
“Our product is ‘recession-proof’ in that it helps companies lower their costs, find treasury solutions in low-liquidity markets and streamline operations,” says Elizabeth. “We grew steadily in 2016 despite several Nigerian currency and macroeconomic shocks. Companies that may not have considered engaging in behaviour or process change in bull markets were actively seeking innovative solutions.”