Dash CEO placed on ‘indefinite administrative leave’ as Insight-backed startup conducts financial audit • TechCrunch

Prince Boakye Boampongthe founder and CEO of hyphenwhich provides an alternative payment network with connected wallets that enables interaction between mobile money and bank accounts in Africa, has reportedly been temporarily suspended pending an investigation into financial inadequacy, according to people with direct knowledge of the situation.

Boampong founded the Ghanaian fintech in 2019 and after the co-launch it is one of Africa’s well-known serial entrepreneurs OMG Digitala YC-backed Ghanaian media startup, in 2016. The board replaced him with for the time being Kenneth Kinyua, the former CEO of Kopo Kopo, a pan-African payments company who recently joined Dash to provide regional leadership in East Africa. Kinyua takes on the role of interim CEO.

Last March, Ghana-based, New York-based Dash Raised $32.8 million in equity from Insight Partners, Global Founders Capital, 4DX Ventures and ASK Capital, among others. The seed round, which sources say has valued Dash at just over $200 million, was the second-biggest deal of its kind after PalmPay’s $40 million in 2019. It also marked Insight Partners’ first lead investment in an African company startups; The $20 billion giant participated in Flutterwave’s Series C round in 2021.

Before raising over $30 million, Dash initially wanted to raise a quarter of that money, roughly $8 million, as a seed round. This had happened by October 2021, having gained around 200,000 users and processing $250 million in transaction volume. By March 2022, five months after its first seed tranche, Dash’s total processing volume surpassed $1 billion and had acquired $1 million from Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria, Boampong told TechCrunch in the March interview. That’s a 4x increase in transaction volume and a 5x increase in user count in five months. Rapid growth, coupled with the fintech boom of 2020-2021 spilling over into the first quarter of 2022, allowed Dash to attract new investors and quadruple its seed round when it reopened.

In hindsight, the growth in users and transaction volume that Dash reported in that short period of time may not have been entirely accurate, as the growth figures differed significantly from what TechCrunch typically sees in terms of other consumer fintechs scaling in Africa.

In fact, sources told TechCrunch that Boampong was allegedly suspended as chief executive over financial misreporting. However, Dash’s board of directors shared with TechCrunch a different take on the former boss’ current status in a joint statement. Without comment or providing specific context on Boampong’s wrongdoing, a spokesman for the board said it placed the CEO on “indefinite administrative leave on January 24, 2023 pending the completion of a forensic financial review of the company.” Audit results could be available within a month, sources say.

In appointing the interim CEO, the board said it was “confident in Mr. Kinyua’s leadership and ability to execute on Dash’s mission to create a unified payment system designed to improve the efficiency and accessibility of Africans’ digital money transactions “.

Meanwhile, sources familiar with the company’s internal workings allege that executives have repeatedly withheld financial data from within the company and described a disorganized workplace where employees were fired and fired at will. TechCrunch has reached out to Boampong for comment. The founder — who according to those with direct knowledge of the situation sold his multimillion-dollar stock in a second sale, a practice partaken by a handful of African founders during the VC boom of the past two years — did not react.

Dash, a unified payment app that combines mobile money and traditional bank accounts, simplifies transactions for consumers and businesses. The fintech’s playbook is similar to Visa or Mastercard in that it routes payments through banks and telecoms, regardless of who issued them. Thus, users from different African countries, Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya can connect their bank or mobile money accounts to Dash, pay bills and send and receive money to other users while the platform does the currency conversion. The four-year-old fintech generates revenue from processing fees, savings, foreign exchange fees, bill payments, and subscription fees.

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