Rise Fund, the impact fund run by private equity group TPG Growth, has announced its first investment in Africa with a $47.5m deal to acquire an unspecified stake in Kenyan digital payments firm Cellulant.
According to Rise Fund, the deal is the largest involving a fintech company that does business only in Africa which also included Endeavour Catalyst, Satya Capital, and Velocity Capital.
Bill McGlashan, CEO, and co-founder, The Rise Fund, acknowledged the rise in digital payments across the continent.
“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.”
Recently the Central Bank of Nigeria in its bid to boost its financial inclusion drive granted a Payment Solution Service Provider (PSSP) license to Cellulant Nigeria Limited. PSSPs are the companies that make up the underlying e-Payment infrastructure in Nigeria
The license will enable banks, online merchants, payment processors, retailers, governments agencies and consumers connect to Cellulant’s payment infrastructure to meet their electronic payment needs.
Also recently, cellulant took its e-wallet solution, Agrikore, to the Afghanistan Ministry of Agriculture. The solution which is to enable farmers in the country get access to fertilizer on time and at an affordable price.
Ken Njoroge, Cellulant co-founder, and chief executive revealed that the new investment would enable the company to expand into new markets and to also invest in its existing operations. Cellulant will also introduce consumer-focused products.
Cellulant was founded in 2004 with operations in Kenya and Nigeria. It now works in 11 countries with 94 banks and seven mobile money platforms that have a combined potential customer base of 130m with focus on e-commerce and mobile payments.
TPG, is an American investment company and one of the largest private equity investment firms in the world focused on leveraged buyouts.
It established the Rise Fund attracting $2bn in capital and is committed to achieving measurable, positive social and environmental outcomes while delivering competitive financial returns. The board of Rise includes rock star Bono, London-based Sudanese tycoon Mo Ibrahim and the founder of eBay, Pierre Omidyar.