Home » Union54, Zambian startup led by Perseus Mlambo and Alessandra Martini, raises $12 million in seed funding

Union54, Zambian startup led by Perseus Mlambo and Alessandra Martini, raises $12 million in seed funding

by Omokolade Ajayi

Union54, a Zambian fintech firm led by tech entrepreneurs Perseus Mlambo and Alessandra Martini, has raised $12 million in a seed extension round led by Tiger Global, a U.S. investment firm focused on Internet, software, consumer and financial technology startups.

Union54 was established in October 2021 by Perseus Mlambo and Alessandra Martini with the primary goal of developing an API that allows African software companies to issue and manage debit cards without the need for a bank or third-party processor, as a homegrown alternative to globally recognized card issuers Mastercard and Visa.

Since its inception last year, the startup has saved fintechs six months of development time and hundreds of thousands of dollars in setup fees, while revenue has increased by 600 percent since its first month.

It has also grown to issue slightly more than 500,000 virtual debit cards to its customers, with processed volumes now reaching double digits in millions of dollars.

In addition to Tiger Global, existing investors such as Vibe VC and new investors Earl Grey Capital and Packy Mccormick’s Not Boring Capital participated in the seed extension round.

The latest round of funding comes nearly six months after the company announced a $3-million seed round led by Tiger Global.

According to Mlambo, CEO and founder of Union54, signing agreements with central banks across Africa can build trust and lead to the company issuing domestic and continental debit cards to shorten settlement time and integrate more local payment methods and APMs.

“The purpose of creating another card network is an inspiration of what’s happening right now. Number one, we’re vulnerable and hostage to any political decisions that might affect trade on the continent,” Mlambo added.

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