Iowa Democrat Drops House Election Appeal, Sparing Her Party a Messy Fight

Rita Hart withdrew her request to have Congress overturn one of the closest elections in American history, after politically vulnerable Democrats came under attack by Republicans over the review.

#democratic-party, #elections-house-of-representatives, #hart-rita-1956, #iowa, #miller-meeks-mariannette, #united-states-politics-and-government

0

Across States, a Checkerboard of Gun Laws Reflects Partisan Tilt

The political divide on gun policy between red and blue states is another example of the way national issues — including abortion rights and, in the post-Trump era, voting rights — are defining local politics.

#boulder-colo, #boulder-colo-shooting-march-2021, #colorado, #firearms, #gun-control, #iowa, #law-and-legislation, #mass-shootings, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #states-us, #united-states-politics-and-government, #virginia

0

Many Iowans Are Uncomfortable With a New Voting Restriction, Poll Finds

A new survey by one of the country’s top pollsters hinted at discomfort among voters in the state about new balloting restrictions.

#iowa, #rumors-and-misinformation, #united-states-politics-and-government, #voter-fraud-election-fraud, #voting-and-voters

0

In Statehouses, Stolen-Election Myth Fuels a G.O.P. Drive to Rewrite Rules

Republican legislators want big changes to the laws for elections and other aspects of governance. A fight over the ground rules for voting may follow.

#arizona, #georgia, #iowa, #presidential-election-of-2020, #republican-party, #state-legislatures, #trump-donald-j, #voter-fraud-election-fraud, #voter-registration-and-requirements

0

Nevada Is Moving to Vote Before Iowa in 2024. Harry Reid Makes the Case.

Goodbye, Iowa and New Hampshire. Hello, Nevada and South Carolina? The former Nevada senator is just one voice arguing that it’s time to change the nomination calendar.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #clyburn-james-e, #iowa, #nevada, #new-hampshire, #primaries-and-caucuses, #reid-harry, #south-carolina

0

A City’s Mayor, Police Chief and Clerk Face Misconduct Charges

The officials of Armstrong, Iowa, and a former city clerk, face charges that include assault with a dangerous weapon, theft and falsifying public documents, the authorities said.

#armstrong-iowa, #assaults, #buum-greg-1951, #city-councils, #embezzlement, #ethics-and-official-misconduct, #frauds-and-swindling, #iowa, #lang-tracie-1963, #merrill-craig-1977, #thackery-connie-1954

0

Driving in Winter? Tips From Experts on How to Arrive Safely

Recent pileups in Iowa and Texas amid severe winter weather have analysts and traffic experts issuing vital reminders about how to stay safe. One common refrain: Slow down.

#automobile-safety-features-and-defects, #content-type-service, #iowa, #roads-and-traffic, #texas, #traffic-accidents-and-safety, #weather, #winter-season

0

Joe Biden and Tom Vilsack’s Big Plan to Save Rural America

Joe Biden and Tom Vilsack plan to take swift action on climate change proposals.

#agriculture-and-farming, #agriculture-department, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #carbon-capture-and-sequestration, #democratic-party, #farm-bill-us, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #iowa, #rural-areas, #solar-energy, #united-states, #vilsack-tom, #wind-power

0

Biden’s Choice of Vilsack for U.S.D.A. Raises Fears for Small Farmers

Democrats have struggled to win voters in rural America and critics say the return of Tom Vilsack, a former agriculture secretary, won’t help.

#agriculture-and-farming, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #democratic-party, #environmental-working-group, #iowa, #obama-barack, #united-states-politics-and-government, #vilsack-tom

0

States Complain of Smaller Covid Vaccine Shipments Than Expected

The smaller number of expected doses, which appeared to be the result of a scheduling hiccup, reignited tensions between the federal government and Pfizer over vaccine supply.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #drugs-pharmaceuticals, #factories-and-manufacturing, #iowa, #oregon, #pfizer-inc, #vaccination-and-immunization, #your-feed-healthcare

0

10 Months Later, Iowa Democrats Blame National Party for Caucus Meltdown

With the future of Iowa’s first-in-the-nation Democratic caucuses in jeopardy, the state party sought to shift blame for a breakdown that delayed results for days after the Feb. 3 contest.

#democratic-national-committee, #democratic-party, #iowa, #presidential-election-of-2020, #presidential-election-of-2024, #primaries-and-caucuses

0

Biden’s Iowa Bus Tour Is Headed for a D.C. Reunion

A year ago, Joe Biden was on a grim bus tour through Iowa, joined by many old friends, including Tom Vilsack and John Kerry. Now Mr. Biden wants to bring some of the crew back to Washington with him.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #blinken-antony-j, #democratic-party, #iowa, #kerrey-bob, #kerry-john, #presidential-election-of-2020, #presidential-transition-us, #primaries-and-caucuses, #race-and-ethnicity, #vilsack-tom

0

Holidays in a Pandemic? Here’s What Happened in 1918

The festive season fell between two deadly waves of the deadly influenza outbreak. Families still gathered, often with empty chairs at the table.

#christmas, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #influenza-epidemic-1918-19, #iowa, #letters, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #thanksgiving-day

0

African fintech startup Chipper Cash raises $30M backed by Jeff Bezos

African cross-border fintech startup Chipper Cash has raised a $30 million Series B funding round led by Ribbit Capital with participation of Bezos Expeditions — the personal VC fund of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

Chipper Cash was founded in San Francisco in 2018 by Ugandan Ham Serunjogi and Ghanaian Maijid Moujaled. The company offers mobile-based, no fee, P2P payment services in seven countries: Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Africa and Kenya.

Parallel to its P2P app, the startup also runs Chipper Checkout — a merchant-focused, fee-based payment product that generates the revenue to support Chipper Cash’s free mobile-money business. The company has scaled to 3 million users on its platform and processes an average of 80,000 transactions daily. In June 2020, Chipper Cash reached a monthly payments value of $100 million, according to CEO Ham Serunjogi .

As part of the Series B raise, the startup plans to expand its products and geographic scope. On the product side, that entails offering more business payment solutions, crypto-currency trading options, and investment services.

“We’ll always be a P2P financial transfer platform at our core. But we’ve had demand from our users to offer other value services…like purchasing cryptocurrency assets and making investments in stocks,” Serunjogi told TechCrunch on a call.

Image Credits: Chipper Cash

Chipper Cash has added beta dropdowns on its website and app to buy and sell Bitcoin and invest in U.S. stocks from Africa — the latter through a partnership with U.S. financial services company DriveWealth.

“We’ll launch [the stock product] in Nigeria first so Nigerians have the option to buy fractional stocks — Tesla shares, Apple shares or Amazon shares and others — through our app. We’ll expand into other countries thereafter,” said Serunjogi.

On the business financial services side, the startup plans to offer more API payments solutions. “We’ve been getting a lot of requests from people on our P2P platform, who also have business enterprises, to be able to collect payments for sale of goods,” explained Serunjogi.

Chipper Cash also plans to use its Series B financing for additional country expansion, which the company will announce by the end of 2021.

Jeff Bezos’s backing of Chipper Cash follows a recent string of events that has elevated the visibility of Africa’s startup scene. Over the past decade, the continent’s tech ecosystem has been one of the fastest growing in the world by year year-over-year expansion in venture capital and startup formation, concentrated in countries such as Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa.

Africa Top VC Markets 2019

Image Credits: TechCrunch/Bryce Durbin

Bringing Africa’s large unbanked population and underbanked consumers and SMEs online has factored prominently. Roughly 66% of Sub-Saharan Africa’s 1 billion people don’t have a bank account, according to World Bank data.

As such, fintech has become Africa’s highest-funded tech sector, receiving the bulk of an estimated $2 billion in VC that went to startups in 2019. Even with the rapid venture funding growth over the last decade, Africa’s tech scene had been performance light, with only one known unicorn (e-commerce venture Jumia) a handful of exits, and no major public share offerings. That changed last year.

In April 2019, Jumia — backed by investors including Goldman Sachs and Mastercard — went public in an NYSE IPO. Later in the year, Nigerian fintech company Interswitch achieved unicorn status after a $200 million investment by Visa.

This year, Network International purchased East African payments startup DPO for $288 million and in August WorldRemit acquired Africa focused remittance company Sendwave for $500 million.

One of the more significant liquidity events in African tech occurred last month, when Stripe acquired Nigerian payment gateway startup Paystack for a reported $200 million.

In an email to TechCrunch, a spokesperson for Bezos Expeditions confirmed the fund’s investment in Chipper Cash, but declined to comment on further plans to back African startups. Per Crunchbase data, the investment would be the first in Africa for the fund. It’s worth noting Bezos Expeditions is not connected to Jeff Bezo’s hallmark business venture, Amazon.

For Chipper Cash, the $30 million Series B raise caps an event-filled two years for the San Francisco-based payments company and founders Ham Serunjogi and Maijid Moujaled. The two came to America for academics, met in Iowa while studying at Grinnell College and ventured out to Silicon Valley for stints in big tech: Facebook for Serunjogi and Flickr and Yahoo! for Moujaled.

Chipper Cash founders Ham Serunjogi (R) and Maijid Moujaled; Image Credits: Chipper Cash

The startup call beckoned and after launching Chipper Cash in 2018, the duo convinced 500 Startups and Liquid 2 Ventures — co-founded by American football legend Joe Montana — to back their company with seed funds. The startup expanded into Nigeria and Southern Africa in 2019, entered a payments partnership with Visa in April and raised a $13.8 million Series A in June.

Chipper Cash founder Ham Serunjogi believes the backing of his company by a notable tech figure, such as Jeff Bezos (the world’s richest person), has benefits beyond his venture.

“It’s a big deal when a world class investor like Bezos or Ribbit goes out of their sweet spot to a new area where they previously haven’t done investments,” he said. “Ultimately, the winner of those things happening is the African tech ecosystem overall, as it will bring more investment from firms of that caliber to African startups.”

#500-startups, #africa, #amazon, #america, #apple, #banking, #bezos-expeditions, #chipper-cash, #e-commerce, #facebook, #financial-services, #ghana, #goldman-sachs, #ham-serunjogi, #hsbc, #interswitch, #iowa, #jeff-bezos, #joe-montana, #kenya, #liquid-2-ventures, #maijid-moujaled, #mastercard, #mobile-payments, #nigeria, #online-payments, #p2p, #paystack, #ribbit, #ribbit-capital, #rwanda, #san-francisco, #series-b, #south-africa, #stripe, #tanzania, #tc, #tesla, #uganda, #united-states, #venture-capital, #visa, #worldremit, #yahoo

0

How Iowa’s Governor Went From Dismissing Mask Mandates to Ordering One Herself

“I don’t want to do this,” Gov. Kim Reynolds said, joining a wave of Republican governors issuing new mask orders as her state faces a spiraling hospital crisis.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #governors-us, #iowa, #reynolds-kimberly-1959

0

Roger Jepsen, Senator From Iowa and Reagan Ally, Dies at 91

A voice for farmers, he lost a re-election bid after it was disclosed that he had joined a health spa that was shut down on prostitution charges.

#agriculture-and-farming, #deaths-obituaries, #elections-senate, #iowa, #jepsen-roger, #politics-and-government, #reagan-ronald-wilson

0

Joni Ernst Wins in Iowa, Frustrating Democrats’ Push for Senate Majority

The first-term Republican overcame a steep challenge from Theresa Greenfield, denying Democrats a crucial pickup in their path to reclaiming control of the Senate.

#elections-senate, #ernst-joni, #greenfield-theresa-1963, #iowa, #senate, #united-states-politics-and-government

0

Statehouse Seats Are Up for Grabs, and With Them, Great Power

In most states, control of the state legislature comes with the authority to redraw state and federal electoral maps.

#democratic-party, #elections-state-legislature, #iowa, #minnesota, #north-carolina, #presidential-election-of-2020, #redistricting-and-reapportionment, #republican-party, #texas

0

Why Iowa Is in Play

With Covid-19 and devastating storms, the state needs smart government — and Joe Biden has ideas for governing.

#agriculture-and-farming, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #crop-controls-and-subsidies, #democratic-party, #des-moines-iowa, #ernst-joni, #greenfield-theresa-1963, #iowa, #knoxville-iowa, #presidential-election-of-2016, #presidential-election-of-2020, #republican-party, #trump-donald-j

0

Time Running Short, Trump and Biden Return to Northern Battlegrounds

Surprise victories in the Midwest catapulted President Trump to victory four years ago, and the region again looms as the critical battleground. Both candidates are focusing on it in the final days.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #democratic-party, #iowa, #midwestern-states-us, #minnesota, #pennsylvania, #polls-and-public-opinion, #presidential-election-of-2020, #republican-party, #states-us, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government, #voting-and-voters, #wisconsin

0

Biden, in Sign of Confidence, Will Visit Iowa in 2020 Election’s Final Days

Appearing newly emboldened, the Democratic nominee also said he thought he would win Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota, three critical battleground states.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #georgia, #harris-kamala-d, #iowa, #polls-and-public-opinion, #presidential-election-of-2020, #trump-donald-j

0

Democrats in Many Races Are Moderates. Republicans Cast Them as Radicals.

Democrats chose Senate candidates who have rejected progressive policies. That hasn’t stopped Republicans from trying to paint them as extreme.

#elections-senate, #ernst-joni, #greenfield-theresa-1963, #iowa, #presidential-election-of-2020, #senate, #united-states-politics-and-government

0

As Governor Resists Mask Mandate, Iowans Sour on the G.O.P.

Gov. Kim Reynolds has adopted President Trump’s defiant attitude toward public health guidance on the coronavirus. But while she isn’t on the ballot, her leadership may be dragging down Republicans who are.

#ernst-joni, #greenfield-theresa-1963, #iowa, #kim-reynolds, #masks, #monmouth-university, #polls-and-public-opinion, #republican-party, #senate

0

Iowa Never Locked Down. Its Economy Is Struggling Anyway.

President Trump has blamed Democratic officials’ rules for impeding the recovery. But even where restrictions are few, business is far from normal.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-reopenings, #iowa, #quarantines, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #shutdowns-institutional, #states-us, #united-states-economy

0

Rev. John Vakulskas Dies at 76; Carnivals Were His Parish

He ministered to generations of carnival workers, and his work was recognized by popes. He died of the coronavirus.

#chaplains, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #deaths-obituaries, #iowa, #roman-catholic-church, #vakulskas-john-1944-2020

0

Ernst Struggles in Iowa as Republicans Battle to Hold Senate Amid Trump’s Woes

Senator Joni Ernst, the first woman to represent Iowa in Congress, is facing the same headwinds plaguing President Trump, who is lagging in the state in part because of deep disadvantage among women.

#elections-senate, #ernst-joni, #greenfield-theresa-1963, #iowa, #presidential-election-of-2020, #republican-party, #senate, #united-states-politics-and-government

0

Why Students Can’t Get Laptops

A surge in worldwide demand for low-cost laptops has created shipment delays and pitted desperate schools against one another.

#asian-americans, #bensonhurst-brooklyn-ny, #black-people, #borough-park-brooklyn-ny, #brooklyn-nyc, #chinese-americans, #colleges-and-universities, #columbus-dispatch, #computers-and-the-internet, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #disease-rates, #e-learning, #education, #education-k-12, #education-department-nyc, #families-and-family-life, #football-college, #gates-bill-and-melinda-foundation, #generation-z, #hong-kong, #idaho, #immigration-and-emigration, #iowa, #jews-and-judaism, #laptop-computers, #layoffs-and-job-reductions, #new-york-city, #new-yorker, #north-carolina, #ohio, #private-and-sectarian-schools, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #queens-nyc, #sars-severe-acute-respiratory-syndrome, #shortages, #shutdowns-institutional, #southeast-asia, #tablet-computers, #uniforms, #university-of-florida, #wesleyan-university, #wichita-kan

0

The 10 Bellwether Counties That Show How Trump Is in Serious Trouble

Each one is in a battleground state. Votes from people there will matter a lot — and offer Joe Biden several paths to victory.

#arizona, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #democratic-party, #florida, #georgia, #iowa, #maricopa-county-ariz, #michigan, #north-carolina, #ohio, #pennsylvania, #presidential-election-of-2016, #presidential-election-of-2020, #republican-party, #suburbs, #sun-belt-states-us, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government, #wisconsin

0

Trump Faces Challenges Even in Red States, Poll Shows, as Women Favor Biden

Close races in Georgia, Iowa and Texas show President Trump’s vulnerability and suggest that Joseph Biden has assembled a formidable coalition, according to a New York Times/Siena College poll.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #georgia, #iowa, #polls-and-public-opinion, #presidential-election-of-2020, #texas, #trump-donald-j, #voting-and-voters, #women-and-girls

0

Polls show Biden highly competitive in red states.

#georgia, #iowa, #polls-and-public-opinion, #presidential-election-of-2020

0

Microsoft Azure launches new availability zones in Canada and Australia

Microsoft Azure offers developers access to more data center regions than its competitors, but it was late to the game of offering different availability zones in those regions for high-availability use cases. After a few high-profile issues a couple of years ago, it accelerated its roadmap for building availability zones. Currently, 12 of Microsoft’s regions feature availability zones and as the company announced at its Ignite conference, both the Canada Central and Australia region will feature availability zones now.

In addition, the company today promised that it would launch availability zones in each country it operates data centers in within the next 24 months.

The idea of an availability zone is to offer users access to data centers that in the same geographic region but are physically separate and each feature their own power, networking and connectivity infrastructure. That way, in case one of those data centers goes offline for whatever reason, there is still another one in the same area that can take over.

In its early days, Microsoft Azure took a slightly different approach and focus on regions without availability zones, arguing that geographic expansion was more important than offering zones. Google took a somewhat similar approach, but it now offers three availability zones for virtually all of its regions (and four in Iowa). The general idea here was that developers could always choose multiple regions for high-availability applications, but that still introduces additional latencies, for example.

#australia, #cloud, #cloud-computing, #cloud-infrastructure, #cloud-storage, #computing, #data-center, #data-management, #google, #iowa, #microsoft, #microsoft-ignite-2020, #microsoft-azure

0

Des Moines Schools Defy Governor’s Reopening Order Amid Coronavirus

In one of the nation’s sharpest clashes over school reopening, officials in Des Moines say Iowa’s Republican governor is pushing them to risk public safety.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-reopenings, #des-moines-iowa, #disease-rates, #e-learning, #education-k-12, #iowa, #republican-party, #reynolds-kimberly-1959, #suits-and-litigation-civil

0

A Gender-Reveal Celebration Is Blamed for a Wildfire. It Wasn’t the First Time.

The El Dorado fire in California ignited as a family was using a “pyrotechnic device” to announce the gender of a new baby, the authorities said.

#arizona, #aviation-accidents-safety-and-disasters, #california, #deaths-fatalities, #fires-and-firefighters, #gender, #iowa, #parties-social, #social-media, #wildfires

0

A New Front in America’s Pandemic: College Towns

The coronavirus is spiking around campuses from Texas to Iowa to North Carolina as students return.

#college-athletics, #colleges-and-universities, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-reopenings, #fraternities-and-sororities, #iowa, #iowa-city-iowa, #reynolds-kimberly-1959, #university-of-iowa

0

Joni Ernst, in Close Senate Race, Repeats a Debunked Coronavirus Theory

The Iowa senator’s comments echoed a false claim, spread by President Trump over the weekend, that deaths from Covid-19 have been inflated.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #elections-senate, #ernst-joni, #greenfield-theresa-1963, #iowa, #trump-donald-j

0

Reeling From a Storm, Iowans Worry They Have Been Forgotten

In Cedar Rapids, where President Trump stopped briefly on Tuesday, thousands of people are unable to return to their homes after devastating winds tore through the state.

#cedar-rapids-iowa, #disasters-and-emergencies, #iowa, #power-failures-and-blackouts, #trump-donald-j, #wind

0

A Bitter Wind at a Shaky Time, and Iowa Is Left Reeling

Devastating windstorms just before harvest were the last thing that Iowa farmers needed.

#agriculture-and-farming, #corn, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #iowa, #midwestern-states-us, #soybeans

0

In Derecho’s Wake, More Than 250,000 in Midwest Struggle Without Power

Residents in Iowa, Illinois and surrounding states were still without electricity days after Monday’s storms brought hurricane-force winds.

#agriculture-and-farming, #derecho-storm, #grain, #illinois, #iowa, #midwestern-states-us, #power-failures-and-blackouts, #social-media, #weather

0

‘Christianity Will Have Power’

Donald Trump made a promise to white evangelical Christians, whose support can seem mystifying to the outside observer.

#christians-and-christianity, #evangelical-movement, #iowa, #presidential-election-of-2020, #trump-donald-j, #whites

0

Lawmakers ‘Alarmed’ by Reports U.S. Envoy Told Brazil It Could Help Re-elect Trump

The House Foreign Affairs Committee has begun an inquiry into multiple reports in the Brazilian media that the U.S. ambassador was framing negotiations over ethanol tariffs in partisan terms.

#brazil, #elections, #ethanol, #house-committee-on-foreign-affairs, #international-trade-and-world-market, #iowa, #presidential-election-of-2020, #united-states, #united-states-international-relations, #united-states-politics-and-government

0

Thinking of Traveling in the U.S.? These States Have Travel Restrictions

A third of states have strict measures in place for visitors, from mandatory testing to quarantine requirements.

#alabama, #alaska, #american-automobile-assn, #automobiles, #boise-idaho, #california, #chicago-ill, #connecticut, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-reopenings, #delaware, #florida, #georgia, #hawaii, #idaho, #illinois, #indiana, #iowa, #kansas, #louisiana, #maine, #massachusetts, #miami-dade-county-fla, #mississippi, #nevada, #new-england-states-us, #north-carolina, #pennsylvania, #rhode-island, #south-carolina, #states-us, #tennessee, #texas, #travel-and-vacations, #travel-warnings, #utah, #vermont, #wisconsin

0

Bagged Salads Recalled After Hundreds Are Sickened in the Midwest

The C.D.C. urged consumers in eight states to avoid four different salad kits produced by Fresh Express.

#centers-for-disease-control-and-prevention, #food-contamination-and-poisoning, #hy-vee-inc, #illinois, #iowa, #kansas, #lettuce, #midwestern-states-us, #minnesota, #missouri, #north-dakota, #recalls-and-bans-of-products, #salads, #wisconsin

0

Trump’s Sagging Popularity Drags Down Republican Senate Candidates

A New York Times/Siena College poll paints a grim picture for Republicans in Arizona, Michigan and North Carolina as voters shun candidates aligned with the president.

#arizona, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #democratic-party, #elections-senate, #ernst-joni, #iowa, #james-john-1981, #mcsally-martha, #michigan, #north-carolina, #politics-and-government, #polls-and-public-opinion, #presidential-election-of-2020, #republican-party, #senate, #tillis-thomas-r, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government

0

Joni Ernst and Donald Trump Could Both Be in Trouble in Iowa

Iowa seemed out of reach for Democrats not too long ago. Now, the presidential race appears to be tightening, and Senator Ernst, a Republican, is facing a strong challenge from a political newcomer.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #des-moines-register, #elections-senate, #ernst-joni, #greenfield-theresa-1963, #iowa, #polls-and-public-opinion, #presidential-election-of-2020, #trump-donald-j

0

African payment startup Chipper Cash raises $13.8M Series A

African cross-border fintech startup Chipper Cash has closed a $13.8 million Series A funding round led by Deciens Capital and plans to hire 30 new staff globally.

The raise caps an event filled run for the San Francisco based payments company, founded two years ago by Ugandan Ham Serunjogi and Ghanaian Maijid Moujaled.

The two came to America for academics, met in Iowa while studying at Grinnell College and ventured out to Silicon Valley for stints in big tech: Facebook for Serunjogi and Flickr and Yahoo! for Moujaled.

The startup call beckoned and after launching Chipper Cash in 2018, the duo convinced 500 Startups and and Liquid 2 Ventures — co-founded by American football legend Joe Montana — to back their company with seed funds.

Two years and $22 million in total capital raised later, Chipper Cash offers its mobile-based, no fee, P2P payment services in seven countries: Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Africa and Kenya.

“We’re now at over one and a half million users and doing over a $100 million dollars a month in volume,” Serunjogi told TechCrunch on a call.

Chipper Cash does not release audited financial data, but does share internal performance accounting with investors. Deciens Capital and Raptor Group co-led the startup’s Series A financing, with repeat support from 500 Startups and Liquid 2 Ventures .

Deciens Capital founder Dan Kimmerling confirmed the fund’s lead on the investment and review of Chipper Cash’s payment value and volume metrics.

Parallel to its P2P app, the startup also runs Chipper Checkout: a merchant-focused, fee-based mobile payment product that generates the revenue to support Chipper Cash’s free mobile-money business.

The company will use its latest round to hire up to 30 people across operations in San Francisco, Lagos, London, Nairobi and New York — according to Serunjogi.

Image Credits: Chipper Cash

Chipper Cash has already brought on a new compliance officer, Lisa Dawson, whose background includes stints with the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and Citigroup’s anti-money laundering department.

“You know in the world we live in the AML side is very important so it’s an area that we want to invest in from the get go,” said Serunjogi.

He confirmed Dawson’s role aligned with getting Chipper Cash ready to meet regulatory requirements for new markets, but declined to name specific countries.

With the round announcement, Chipper Cash also revealed a corporate social responsibility component to its business. Related to current U.S. events, the startup has formed the Chipper Fund for Black Lives.

“We’ve been huge beneficiaries of the generosity and openness of this country and its entrepreneurial spirit,” explained Serunjogi. “But growing up in Africa, we’ve were able to navigate [the U.S.] without the traumas and baggage our African American friends have gone through living in America.”

The Chipper Fund for Black Lives will give 5 to 10 grants of $5,000 to $10,000. “The plan is to give that to…people or causes who are furthering social justice reforms,” said Serunjogi.

In Africa, Chipper Cash has placed itself in the continent’s major digital payments markets. As a sector, fintech has become Africa’s highest funded tech space, receiving the bulk of an estimated $2 billion in VC that went to startups in 2019.

Africa Top VC Markets 2019

Image Credits: TechCrunch

Those ventures, and a number of the continent’s established banks, are in a race to build market share through financial inclusion.

By several estimates — including The Global Findex Database — the continent is home to the largest percentage of the world’s unbanked population, with a sizable number of underbanked consumers and SMEs.

Increasingly, Nigeria has become the most significant fintech market in Africa, with the continent’s largest economy and population of 200 million.

Chipper Cash expanded there in 2019 and faces competition from a number of players, including local payments venture Paga. More recently, outside entrants have jumped into Nigeria’s fintech scene.

In 2019, Chinese investors put $220 million into OPay (owned by Opera) and PalmPay — two fledgling startups with plans to scale first in West Africa and then the broader continent.

Over the next several years, expect to see market events — such as fails, acquisitions, or IPOs — determine how well funded fintech startups, including Chipper Cash, fare in Africa’s fintech arena.

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