African payments firm Cellulant raises $47.5m
Marking its debut on the continent, TPG Growth’s The Rise Fund has invested in digital payments provider Cellulant for technology services across sub-Saharan Africa.
TPG Growth has also signed an agreement to acquire an undisclosed stake in Cellulant, which reaches 40 million people across 11 African countries.
The Rise Fund is investing alongside Endeavor Catalyst, Satya Capital, Velocity Capital and Progression Africa. In total, Cellulant says it got $47.5 million in the Series C round.
According to Cellulant, the deal is the largest of its kind dedicated solely to Africa’s fintech and payments space.
“Across Africa, expanding easy-to-use and low cost mobile banking offers immense potential for impact, and Cellulant is at the leading edge of that work,” says Bill McGlashan, CEO and co-founder of The Rise Fund.
“Payments in Africa are not a novelty. With two thirds of Africans unable to access a bank account, we believe that building a connected payments infrastructure is the foundation of solving real challenges and accelerating Africa’s growth and development,” adds Ken Njoroge, Cellulant co-founder and group CEO.
Cellulant’s platform offers options for consumers and businesses, and works with financial institutions, governments and mobile network operators.
It builds on a business model that first debuted in Kenya and Nigeria in 2004, and the company has since expanded its services to 11 countries, including: Zambia, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Uganda, Botswana, Mozambique, Malawi and Liberia.
As with many other firms, Cellulant wants a slice of Africa’s financial inclusion market. The company says more than 94% of its customer base was previously unbanked before they signed up.
This investment will also be used to scale existing Cellulant products, like Agrikore.
Agrikore is a mobile blockchain-based platform that has been used by more than seven million farmers across the continent, connecting them to the market and helping them sell their goods to buyers. It also expands access to government subsidy programmes.
Magister Advisors served as transaction advisors to Cellulant, and Orrick and KPMG provided diligence and review to The Rise Fund.