The 20-Year History Behind Zone’s Recent $8.5 Million Seed Round Success

The news that Nigeria-based payment infrastructure company Zone just closed an oversubscribed $8.5 million seed round stands out as a bright spot in an otherwise grim time for startups looking to fundraise in Africa, where VC funding across the continent dropped 50% last year. Zone’s fintech platform enables payments and acceptance of digital currencies through its regulated blockchain network. Their round was led by reputable VC firms Flourish Ventures and TLcom Capital and included participation by Endeavor Catalyst.

Zone’s fundraising success speaks to the compelling vision of co-founders Obi Emetaron and Wale Onawunmi and the store of institutional trust they’ve built over two decades working in the Nigerian financial sector. Obi and Wale’s story is another reminder there is no such thing as an “overnight success.”

As Obi acknowledges, “It took us 20 years to get the trust from the market, the knowledge of the product and the audience to build the product that is going to actually change the financial ecosystem.”