Silicon Valley payments firm Stripe buys Nigerian startup Paystack

FILE PHOTO: A staff member works at the reception of the paystack online payment company in the government reserved area in Ikeja, in Lagos, Nigeria, June 21, 2018. REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye

LAGOS (Reuters) - U.S. payments company Stripe has bought Nigerian fintech startup Paystack to expand into the fast-growing online market in Africa, the companies said on Thursday.

The acquisition, which media reports said was worth some $200 million, reflects the growing online commerce market in Nigeria and across sub-Saharan Africa.

“The African internet economy is expanding quickly, with online commerce in the region growing 21% year-over-year, 75% faster than the global average,” Stripe said in a statement. “In order to help increase Africa’s online GDP, Stripe has entered into an agreement to acquire Paystack.”

The Silicon Valley firm is unlisted but valued at $36 billion, according to investor website PitchBook.

Paystack, which also provides payments systems, works with more than 60,000 businesses including FedEx, UPS and MTN and processes hundreds of millions of dollars each month.

Paystack will continue to operate independently and Stripe will over time embed it into its global payments and treasury network, a programmable platform for global money movement that currently spans 42 countries, Stripe said.

Paystack was set up in 2016 by two Nigerian computer science graduates, Shola Akinlade and Ezra Olubi, who received early stage funding in Silicon Valley’s Y-Combinator programme.

Reporting by Libby George; Editing by David Clarke