Zambian Card Issuing Start-up, Union54, Raises $12 Million

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Union54 is a fintech company that offers card issuing solutions and services and they partner with licensed card issuers in their respective countries.

As of 2021, they were the first Zambian start-up that got into YCombinator. Founded by Perseus Mlambo and Alessandra Martini, they launched in 2021 after a previous start-up and challenger bank, Zazu (owned by the same founders).

A few months later, Union54 has raised $12 million in a seed round that is led by Tiger Global. The round saw participating investors like Vibe VC and new investors like Earl Grey Capital and Not Boring Capital (owned by Packy McCormick).

Since its launch, Union54 has grown to issue slightly over half a million virtual debit cards to its customers and they also claim to have processed volumes that reach double digits in millions of dollars.

They raised $3 million in a seed round which was also led by Tiger Global six months ago and they operate by allowing their API to enable African software businesses to create and maintain debit cards without a bank or third-party assistance.

CEO Perseus Mlambo disclosed to TechCrunch that the company’s revenue in the first month was a little less than $3,000; and as of November, their revenue had increased by 600% and had also grown 50% monthly.

Perseus also hints that Union54 has customers from many African countries – though he didn’t disclose the exact number. The company has also realised that they will need to do more after realising some pressing challenges and they also intend to launch their own card scheme.

Union54 hopes to create a homegrown alternative to Visa or Mastercard.

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