Lazerpay, a web3 and crypto payment company, is shutting down. The shutdown comes months after the startup’s founder, Njoku Emmanuel, shared that the company was having trouble raising money. According to a statement shared by the founder Njoku Emmanuel on Twitter, the company has been struggling to stay afloat after failing to secure funding, and although they tried to “keep the lights on for as long as they could, they’re now at a point where they need to shut down.”
This comes after the startup downsized its workforce in November 2022. Today’s announcement by the founder showed that those cuts were not nearly enough. A source close to the matter told TechCabal that the layoffs happened after the founder rejected an unfavourable acquisition offer from an existing investor. According to the source, only two developers, the founder and the source remained working at the startup but with no pay.
Customers have been advised to move their funds from the platform using the bank or crypto payout options before April 30, 2023, when the startup will officially cease operations. In the announcement of its closure, the startup reported that it has enabled over 3000 merchants to receive and make payments in Naira, cedis, Kenyan Shillings, Rwandan Shillings, US Dollars, and UAE Dirham. It was on a mission to drive financial inclusion and interoperability in Africa and is open to continuing that mission by selling Lazerpay’s IP to anyone interested in using it to build the future of crypto payments.
The startup, which was founded in 2021, developed an API that allowed developers to integrate crypto payments into their platforms, thus allowing merchants to accept payments in crypto. In their seventeen months of operations, they’ve served over 3000 businesses. Lazerpay was previously backed by Shola Akinlade of Paystack, Nuwa Capital, Voltron Capital and Nestcoin.
The African crypto industry takes a beating
The crypto industry has taken a beating all over the world in recent times. Once hailed as the next frontier in technology, promising a decentralised alternative to rigid banking systems, several crypto-based solutions sprung up, promising financial inclusivity for everyone.
However, the promise has not been kept here in Africa. In what could be called a domino effect, FTX’s demise last year had a significant impact on Africa. Nestcoin, a Nigerian crypto startup, held investor funds in FTX, and after FTX crashed, the company was suddenly left without runway. Nestcoin had to lay off staff last year, and its CEO stopped taking a salary.
Investors have shied away from crypto startups in recent times amidst a funding drought and a more stringent approach to funding. Last month, another Nigerian crypto startup, Fluidcoins, was acquired by Bitfinex after it unsuccessfully tried to raise funds to continue its business operations.