Nigeria’s Paga acquires Ethiopia-based Apposit to speed international growth

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Nigerian fintech startup Paga, poised for global expansion, has announced its acquisition of Apposit, a United States (US)-based technology company with operations in Ethiopia.

Founded in 2009, Paga provides Nigerians with safe and convenient ways of making payments, allowing money to be sent to any phone number for the beneficiary to redeem at a Paga agent or at an ATM via a cardless withdrawal. Customers can also use Paga to deposit money to bank accounts in Nigeria, pay their bills, or top-up mobile phone airtime.

The company raised a US$10million growth funding round in 2018, making it known it had begun exploring opportunities in other markets, and in line with this has now acquired Apposit, a US software company with primary operations in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, that builds software to power innovative and high impact businesses in Africa. 

The relationship is not new, with Apposit having dedicated an engineering team to Paga since 2009, led by Eric Chijioke, who is also Paga’s chief technology officer (CTO). Taking the relationship one step further, Paga founder Tayo Oviosu said, puts the company in a stronger position to grow its global payments business.

“Last year we refined our mission and vision to birth our massive transformative purpose: to make it simple for one billion people to access and use money. Apposit has demonstrated strong alignment with our purpose and they have some of the very best engineers I have been privileged to work with, in over two decades in technology in Silicon Valley and elsewhere. I am very excited to have Apposit join the Paga team,” Oviosu said.

Paga has pinpointed Ethiopia as one of the viable countries with similar cash and payment problems identified in Nigeria, and will introduce its services to the market. Acquiring Apposit provides Paga with an instant go-to-market strategy to launch the Paga service in Ethiopia under the vast experience and leadership of Adam Abate, Apposit co-founder and CEO, who will now become the CEO of Paga Ethiopia. The company will now also own Apposit’s other in-house technology products, Terra and Tangio.

“The acquisition of Apposit by Paga is a very natural progression in the close relationship we have enjoyed with Paga over the last 10 years. We are excited to join forces with Paga at a time where Ethiopia embarks in earnest on its digital transformation. As one company we will solve the use of cash and bring access to finance to millions of people in Ethiopia and beyond. Our companies are strongly aligned in terms of values, culture, and purpose, and leveraging Paga’s vast experience and robust payments platform will position us for success,” said Abate.

“We also look forward to strengthening Paga’s product team and continuing to build technology that will be used globally.”

The leadership team at Apposit will be absorbed into the leadership structure at Paga, retaining Eric Chijoke as CTO, and with Simon Solomon becoming lead systems architect and Gideon Abate becoming head of product innovation. The 62 team members of Apposit will join the rest of the Paga organisation, bringing the total staff strength of Paga to over 530 people. With this acquisition, Paga is now poised to build a global product development organisation with teams based in Lagos, Addis Ababa, London, and Mexico City.

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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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