Rwanda remittance startup Mergims raises $50k from local investor

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Rwandan remittance startup Mergims has closed a US$50,000 investment round from a local angel investor, which it will use it begin its expansion into other African countries.

The Mergims mobile application links members of the African diaspora directly to traders in their countries of origin, thus enabling them to pay tuition fees, airtime, electricity and more for their relatives living on the continent.

Disrupt Africa reported in September the startup won the Rwandan leg of startups pitching competition Seedstars World, and will go on to represent Rwanda against other regional winners at the global finals to be held in Switzerland in February.

It has been fundraising this year, with chief executive officer (CEO) Louis-Antoine Muhire telling Disrupt Africa Mergims recently closed a US$50,000 investment from Rwandan investor Jeff Gasana, the owner of telecoms company COMZAFRICA, which has a presence in 23 countries.

“This investment is very fortunate for us because he is going to open doors in many countries where he is already. Therefore, Mergims’ expansion will start somewhere in the middle of next year. For now I cannot confirm what will be our next move, but definitely Kenya and Nigeria are on our radar,” he said.

The investment follows a US$20,000 raise from Africa Angels Network (AAN), and Muhire is looking forward to pitching for the startup’s Series A funding at Seedstars World.

Mergims launched in January, with the mission of connecting migrants to local merchants so they can pay for services and products to be delivered to their relatives back in Rwanda.

The app currently has more than 700 users, with more that 10 per cent of those returning clients paying an average of US$30 per transaction to support their relatives in Rwanda. Only dollar services are fully working now – for airtime top up, utility bills, tuition fees and groceries – but Muhire said Mergims would soon be allowing users to pay for medicine and travel tickets.

Mergims will also this month launching its web-app, while early next year its iOS version will go live.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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