USD banking platform for Africa

Cleva enables African freelancers and businesses to receive international payment for their service, while protecting themselves from local currency volatility. With a Cleva USD account, one can easily receive USD payment from anywhere in the world, spend via a card, pay bills, convert to local currency, and save in USD to hedge against local currency volatility.

Team Size:13
Location:Lagos, Nigeria
Group Partner:Tom Blomfield

Active Founders

Tolu Alabi, CEO

Tolu brings relevant experience from her time as a Lead Product Manager building Issuing and Banking products at Stripe. Prior to Stripe, she was a Senior PM at Amazon working on multiple products from Logistics to Augmented Reality. In addition, she has an MBA from Stanford GSB and a B.A in Computer Science and Mathematics from Grinnell College. Outside of work, she loves to play multiple sports (for now tennis and basketball). She's also a huge Lebron fan.

Tolu Alabi
Tolu Alabi

Philip Abel, CTO

Philip has a relentless drive for excellence. Originally from Nigeria, Philip's journey took him from Kano to MIT and Georgia Tech, where he studied computer science and engineering. He has built multi-region infrastructure and services for years at industry giants such as AWS, Twilio, and Akamai Technologies. His background is marked by resilience, and a commitment to making a positive impact in the world. He’s an FC Barcelona fan (soccer) and a big Lionel Mesi fan.

Philip Abel
Philip Abel

Company Launches

Greetings, YC community! We are Tolu and Philip, the co-founders of Cleva.

tl;dr: Cleva makes it easy for freelancers and businesses in emerging markets to get paid for their services and manage their money in USD. We do this by providing USD accounts to receive international payments at very low costs, a debit card to spend, the ability to convert currencies, and the ability to save and earn interest over time. We launched in August 2023 and now process over 4 million dollars monthly for customers while doubling revenue month-over-month.

The Problem

Despite the growing number of young remote African workers and businesses serving global partners, international payments and investments in USD are still a complex puzzle for many talented Africans and businesses. This intricate challenge can stifle economic growth and opportunities. We firmly believe that Africans should have an effortless way to receive international payments and manage their finances without paying excessive fees or dealing with local currency fluctuations. This problem is not only relevant; it's a catalyst for empowerment.

Cleva's Solution

We are building an all-in-one platform to enable payments, spending via debit cards, and investments. Our flagship product, launched in August 2023, simplifies payments for remote workers and freelancers in Nigeria. It enables them to establish a Cleva US-based account, effortlessly receive salaries and customer payments, and seamlessly manage their finances, including currency conversion, with remarkable ease. Over the coming months, we will build tools for investments.

How We Started

Tolu and Philip have known each other for over 10 years and understand how expensive cross-border transactions are from personal experiences. We also understand how hyperinflation and devaluation of African currencies have diminished the spending power of friends and family. We take this problem personally and want to tackle it head-on to enable prosperity for Africans and others across emerging economies. We believe simplifying how people earn and invest in USD will empower businesses and remote workers across emerging economies.

Our Ask

  1. Check out Cleva, sign up for your USD Banking needs, or refer people in the countries we serve today.
  2. Share this post! Please help get the word out. We want more people to know about Cleva and how we add value.
    1. iOS AppLink: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/cleva-app/id6473619732
    2. Android: Link coming soon. (it’s pending play store approval)
  3. Connect us with USD Banking Providers and Remote Work Companies at contact@getcleva.com.

The Team

Tolu Alabi: Handles all things business, product, and more. Tolu has 10+ years of experience building customer-centric products at Stripe and Amazon. She also has an MBA from Stanford GSB and is an enthusiastic basketball and Lebron James fan!

Philip: Handles all things tech and more. Philip has significant experience as a software engineer and has worked at AWS, Twilio, and Akamai Technologies. He is passionate about using technology for good. He is an FC Barcelona fan (soccer)  and a big Lionel Mesi fan.