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Image credits: Vella Finance

Vella Finance: Helping SMEs In Africa With Cross-border Payment Solutions


Sept. 8, 2022, 10:24 a.m.

Cross-border B2B payment for SMEs in Africa is still a lingering issue despite the massive demand and the emergence of many cross-border payment startups. One major hurdle these SMEs suffer is the expensive exchange rates. African fintech startups like Zazuu, Verto, Grey, Cellulant, etc., have made it their mission to mitigate the situation with their infrastructure and APIs. It cannot hurt to add one more⸺Vella.

Behind Vella are a dedicated team cutting across operations, technology, design, and business development. Vella aims to provide cross-border payment solutions to financially underserved small business owners in Africa, allowing them to participate and tap into the global economy.

With Vella Finance, businesses can send money to suppliers and partners in over 80 countries and receive payments seamlessly from their customers, all within minutes and at a fraction of the cost. Vella launched its public beta last year, November 1, 2021.

"Before starting Vella, and asides from being a small business owner myself, I worked closely with SMEs as a cross-border supplier relationship manager: essentially helping small business owners with their product sourcing and cross-border payment. I see firsthand the challenges businesses face in sending or receiving money from other countries. While Africa is still the most expensive payment corridor in the world, what we've built at Vella is helping businesses with infrastructures to close the gap," Mark Afolabi, the CEO and founder of Vella, shares with DT Africa.

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"We were first merchants, then small business enablers; we share firsthand experience from a small business owner's perspective. Not only can our users send and receive money, but they can also get access to credit which helps boost their businesses; that is how we set ourselves apart," Mark continues.

Vella's platform has integrated systems that aid payout and collections for businesses. Some features that immediately stand out for our users are global wire transfer, multi-currency invoice/payment links, and ecommerce payment widget integration. All these features allow users to pay and receive across borders.

Since its launch, the fintech startup claims to have recorded about 19,000 signups with over 10,000 app downloads. Vella also boasts of helping businesses process over $3M in transactions while generating revenue and experiencing a 57% MoM growth.

"Our goal is to become the default cross-border payment company for businesses in Africa, with an entire suite of products to manage financial lifecycle for SMEs."

"Also, we are currently fundraising our SEED round and have already bagged some commitments. While we have interesting investors in the pipeline, we are constantly exploring partnerships and investors that can 10x our efforts," Mark states.

The fintech startup is for now only active in Nigeria but aims to expand into Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa in the future. Its platform is available on the web, iOS, and Android. Vella also raised pre-seed earlier in the year from LoftyInc Capital, Kaizen Venture Partners, Velocity Digital, and other Angels. 


tag: Africa, SMEs, Fintech, Startup, Nigeria, Businesses,


Verny Joy Author

Verny loves to write poetry, fiction and quotes. Her love for writing landed her in journalism. She loves gadgets and travelling to explore new places.