Nigerian fintech startup, Blueloop, has been accepted into the Winter 2021 batch of US-based accelerator, Y Combinator. The startup will be joining 10 other African startups in the 2021 batch and will get access to a $125k seed fund.
Founded in 2020 by two students from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ben Eluan co-founder and CEO, and Osezele Orukpe co-founder, the startup built Flux, an app that combines a cryptocurrency wallet and a digital banking app in order to ease cross border payments in Africa. Users can receive crypto from all over the world and instantly convert it to fiat.
With its YC entry, Blueloop joins an increasingly reputable rank of startups like Paystack, Flutterwave, Buycoins, Kobo360, 54gene, to mention a few, that have passed through the accelerator.
Eluan explains that getting into YC was a good validation of the work being done at Blueloop and a testament to the impressive growth it has recorded so far
“We plan to leverage the funds, the mentorship, and the awesome global network of startups and investors, to build our product into a global product,” he says.
Between September (its launch date) and November 2020, Flux processed over $460k in transactions across its crypto and fiat platform. Presently, Eluan claims, the platform records over $700k in monthly transactions.
He reveals that the startup makes 1% of its transaction value, so it currently records over $7k in revenue on a monthly basis.
“The fact that people were performing transactions on both the crypto and fiat sections actually skyrocketed our transaction value,” Ben explains. “Two types of people use our app. Those who want to use crypto, and those who want a different kind of banking platform.”
Eluan points out that people are using the platform in, sometimes, unexpected ways.
Having noticed this, the team has built the Flux merchant, a web platform that allows merchants to fully set up their accounts, fill their compliance, and generate payment links for their products and services.
Blueloop charges merchants ₦100 (26 cents) for every successful payment, a move that presents another revenue-generating stream.
The Central Bank of Nigeria’s decision to disconnect crypto exchanges from the banking system heavily affected Nigerian crypto startups like Blueloop, but Ben maintains that it already had a contingency.
“Two weeks before the crypto ban, we had already shifted our focus to our flux merchant. Though the crypto ban was hurtful, the new product provided a sort of safe-landing. We also decided against building a P2P platform.”
For Eluan, Flux was never meant to be a crypto exchange but a platform that would ease cross border payments for Africans, using crypto as the underlying infrastructure. He believes the crypto ban was just an opportunity for the team to continue innovating.
“As part of our counter plans, we’re doubling down on moving to other regions fast. Our platform has to be available globally as that’s the kind of product we are building. We are also partnering a global company to speed up cross border payments.”
The startup is currently in the middle of its seed round which it plans to close next month. Eluan belives there’s still a lot of things to do when it comes to payments in Africa and he plans to make Blueloop a big part of the solution.