Ham Serunjogi, the Ugandan CEO of Chipper Cash, met his co-founder, Maijid Moujaled, a Ghanaian, while studying at Grinnell College, Iowa, in 2012. The pair understood the struggles of sending money across Africa, but it was on a 2016 road trip together that they hit upon an idea to address it. In 2018, they commercially launched Chipper Cash, which allows Africans to send money across borders in local currency.
Serunjogi, an economics graduate and athlete who competed at the first-ever Youth Olympics in 2010, pitched Chipper Cash at the annual Stellar Build Challenge, a startup contest. He emerged with the $100,000 prize, and the attention of venture capital investors, including Deciens Capital, which made a $2.4 million seed investment. Since then, Chipper Cash has attracted investment from major players, including the crypto exchange FTX, Ribbit Capital, and Bezos Expeditions, the investment vehicle of Jeff Bezos, the world’s second-richest person.
Chipper Cash’s no-fee, cross-border payments service now has over 4 million users and is available in seven African countries as well as the U.K. and the U.S. In 2020, it employed more than 200 people and processed around $100 million a month, according to its own statistics. That same year, Chipper Cash introduced cryptocurrency products, including peer-to-peer payments.
As CEO, Serunjogi has taken a growth-first approach, offering discounts and zero-fee transactions to bring in customers, paid for by successive funding rounds. He fronts Apple-style launch events in San Francisco and has brought on popular African musicians Burna Boy and Simi as brand ambassadors, while Chipper Cash promotions fill up billboards and lamp posts across its operating markets. In five years, Serunjogi and Moujaled have built Chipper Cash from a little-known app touting the potential of cross-border payments to a Pan-African unicorn valued at $2 billion for its series C funding round in November 2021. One of their next big bets is to bring cryptocurrency into the mainstream on the continent.