Cleva raised $1.5M to catapults cross-border payments in Africa


Nigerian fintech startup, Cleva, is making international payments a breeze for Africans, fueled by a fresh $1.5 million pre-seed funding injection. Led by 1984 Ventures, the round saw participation from prominent investors like Y Combinator, The Raba Partnership, Byld Ventures, and FirstCheck Africa, showcasing their confidence in Cleva’s mission to simplify cross-border transactions for individuals and businesses across the continent.

Founded by Tolu Alabi (CEO) and Philip Abel (CTO) in 2023, Cleva empowers Africans to receive international payments seamlessly. It also allows you to open virtual USD accounts within minutes, using only your Bank Verification Number (BVN) and a government-issued ID.

With Cleva, you can also save in U.S. The platform also on a mission to initiate a campaign aimed at African diasporans. All these Cleva’s payment benefits will eliminates the hurdles of traditional international banking, particularly for remote workers and freelancers who often face exorbitant fees and delays.

Cleva Logo

“We’re tackling a massive $18 billion opportunity in Africa, where freelancers and remote workers struggle to get paid conveniently,” explains Alabi, Cleva’s CEO. “With Cleva, they can receive USD payments directly, avoiding expensive exchange rates and lengthy processing times.”

Cleva’s user-friendly app boasts more than just USD accounts. It offers local currency withdrawals, virtual cards for online transactions, and plans to introduce USD savings options in the near future. This comprehensive suite positions Cleva as a one-stop shop for Africans navigating the complexities of international finance.

The startup’s rapid growth is already turning heads. Since its launch four months ago, Cleva has processed over $1 million in payments for thousands of users. This impressive traction, coupled with the team’s proven track record and the backing of renowned investors, paints a promising picture for Cleva’s future.


“Cleva’s focus on customer experience and its unique business model set it apart,” says Aaron Michael, a partner at 1984 Ventures. “We’re excited to support their vision of democratizing international payments and opening up new economic opportunities for Africans.”

Beyond Nigeria, Cleva’s ambitions stretch across borders. The team plans to expand to other African markets with similar cross-border payment challenges, potentially including Latin America, Asia, and Canada. By bridging the gap between local currencies and the global financial system, Cleva paves the way for a more inclusive and interconnected future for businesses and individuals across the continent.

So, with $1.5 million pre-seed funding its secured and a clear vision for the future, Cleva is poised to revolutionize how Africans send and receive money across borders, putting it in a competitive remittance market that already includes platforms like Chipper Cash, Flutterwave’s Send, Lemfi, Payday, and Afriex

Their journey is just beginning, but the impact they could have on financial inclusion and economic growth in Africa is undeniable. Watch this space – this Nigerian fintech startup is definitely one to keep an eye on.

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