Thepeer announces shutdown, citing compliance struggles; investor funds to be returned

April 1, 2024
2 min read
Thepeer team

The news

  • Nigerian startup Thepeer is set to shut down after three years.
  • Described as an API-based payment layer, Thepeer is shutting down due to compliance and acceptance of the product.
  • The company will return what is left of its funding to investors as a pivot or merger & acquisition is not an option.

The founders, Michael Okoh and Chike Ononye, said, "Thepeer will be placed on maintenance mode for the interim. We'll work to maintain the platform for as long as possible until we discover a new home for it."

The startup's shutdown is coming almost two years after it raised $2.1 million in a seed round led by Raba Partnership, an early investor in Flutterwave and Stitch.

Thepeer's value proposition was to be an "API-based payments layer

where fintechs can enable money movement natively from within their respective wallets and apps," George Rzepecki, founder of Raba Partnership said after the company's seed funding.

This means that businesses could interact better with other businesses. For example, a user who wants to fund their Risevest account from their PiggyVest account wouldn't have to fund their banks first.

Okoh, Theeper CTO, explained how the product worked to Techpoint Africa; “Let’s say a business wants to send money to another business, they do their business and what we do is just ask, ‘Which user are we tagging the transaction to? What’s the context of this transaction? What’s the amount of this transaction? So we just give context to data from the daily operation of businesses.’”

The startup works with any business that uses a wallet. Once Thepeer API is integrated, users can fund their wallets from any app without going through banks.

However, Thepeer operates in a regulatory grey area. Although the founders said they spent the first few months after launch acquiring licences, compliance is one of the reasons the company is shutting down.

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"Compliance issues hindered us from launching key wallet providers or maintaining their services," the founders wrote.

These compliance issues were the reason it partnered with Flutterwave as a financial partner in 2021.

The founders also said, "the overall acceptance of wallets as a viable payment option didn't grow as rapidly as we had hoped, this meant we had to spend a lot of time and resources educating people about what we do."

And after weighing its options, the startup has decided to return investor funds and close the company.

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He's a geek, a sucker for Blockchain and an all-round tech lover. Find me on Twitter @BoluAbiodun1.
He's a geek, a sucker for Blockchain and an all-round tech lover. Find me on Twitter @BoluAbiodun1.
He's a geek, a sucker for Blockchain and an all-round tech lover. Find me on Twitter @BoluAbiodun1.

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