Nigerian payments platform Paystack has launched operations in South Africa after a six-month pilot, with the country becoming the startup’s third market in Africa and first new destination since its acquisition by Stripe in October.
Launched in January 2016 by Shola Akinlade and Ezra Olubi, Paystack is a payments company that helps businesses in Africa get paid by anyone, anywhere in the world. The startup processes over 50 per cent of all web payments in Nigeria, powering payments for over 60,000 organisations, including FedEx, UPS, MTN, and many others, and is also active in Ghana.
In October, in what was the landmark moment of 2020 for the African tech startup ecosystem, Paystack was acquired by global payments firm Stripe, which also led the startup’s US$8 million funding round back in 2018. At the time, it was announced that Paystack would be Stripe’s catalyst for growing internet commerce in Africa, with the Lagos-based startup having plans to expand across the continent.
This started with a pilot in South Africa, and Paystack has now followed that up with a full launch in the country. The plan is to leverage South Africa’s internet connectivity, one of the highest on the continent, to significantly drive up the adoption of digital transactions. Today, despite the country’s impressive connectivity and high smartphone penetration, digital payments account for less than half of all transactions.
“South Africa is one of the continent’s most important markets, and our launch here is a significant milestone in our mission to accelerate commerce across Africa,” said Akinlade. “We’re excited to continue building the financial infrastructure that empowers ambitious businesses in Africa, helps them scale, and connects them to global markets.”
During the six-month pilot in South Africa, Paystack worked closely with several businesses of all types – tech startups, corporate organisations, e-commerce businesses, freelance developers, and entrepreneurs of all sizes – and also grew a local team to handle on-the-ground operations.
“For many businesses in South Africa, we know that accepting payments online can be cumbersome,” said Khadijah Abu, head of product expansion at Paystack. “Our pilot in South Africa was hyper-focused on removing barriers to entry, eliminating tedious paperwork, providing world-class API documentation to developers, and making it a lot simpler for businesses to accept payments online.”