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Nigerian startup The Peer shuts down despite runway cites market fit challenges

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When The Peer, a Nigerian API startup, closed its doors in April, it still had up to twenty months of funding left. Despite having a runway, the founders cited a failure to find product-market fit as the reason for shutting down, ensuring investors will recoup some of their investment.

Out of the $2.3 million raised by The Peer, investors are expected to receive around $350,000 back, according to sources familiar with the startup’s finances. With a burn rate of less than $20,000 per month, the decision to close early, though counterintuitive in the startup world, may lead to better outcomes, especially as macroeconomic conditions worsen and VC funding declines.

Before the shutdown, The Peer explored various product lines, including fraud prevention, but ultimately decided against pivoting with investor money. Notable investors in The Peer include Chipper Cash, Flutterwave, and angel investors like Ezra Olubi and Prosper Otemuyiwa.

Founded in 2021, The Peer aimed to connect business wallets and raised $220,000 in a pre-seed round and $2.1 million in a seed round in June 2022, valuing the company at $5 million. However, despite the promising potential, the startup struggled to scale and generate significant revenue.

The Peer’s APIs facilitated wallet-to-wallet transactions, but challenges with compliance and limited support from fintech partners hindered its growth. Additionally, potential customers had numerous options, including established payment companies like Paystack and Flutterwave.

In a blog post, the co-founders admitted they couldn’t align the startup’s product with market needs, noting the slow adoption of wallets as a viable payment option. Despite holding acquisition talks with other startups, none materialised.

Overall, industry experts believe The Peer’s product arrived too early for the market, highlighting the challenges of timing and market readiness in the startup landscape.

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