本周，非洲数字支付解决方案企业Cellulant宣布获得4750万美元C轮融资，这也创下了此类本土企业所获风投的又一记录。本次投资由美国私募基金德州太平洋旗下的成长基金领投，Endeavor Catalyst、Satya Capital与Velocity Capital & Progression Africa参投。
The streak of big-ticket investment in African fintech companies shows no signs of stopping.
Cellulant, the digital payments solutions company operating in 11 African countries has raised $47.5 million in its Series C round—one of the largest for a solely Africa-focused venture-funded company. The round was led by The Rise Fund, an impact investment fund run by TPG Growth, the US-based private equity group, with participation from Endeavor Catalyst, Satya Capital, Velocity Capital & Progression Africa.
First founded in Nigeria and Kenya in 2004, Cellulant has since expanded to nine other African countries and around 12% of Africa’s mobile consumers can make payments using its solutions. Its reach is down to partnerships with over 90 banks and several mobile payments platforms across the continent. The company says it will be expanding to two more countries following the investment.
The investment in Cellulant is the latest endorsement of the key role African fintech companies are playing in bridging the crucial payments and financial inclusion gaps on the continent. Over the past three years, the sector has garnered momentum and has become the most attractive for investors on the continent.
Almost a third of funding raised by African startups in 2017 was in the fintech sector as investors bet on consumers turning to more formal financial services in a region where just 17% of the population have banking accounts. Venture funding for African startups jumped by 51% to $195 million in 2017.
Fintech was the biggest attraction for investors with 45 startups raising one-third of total funding. The success of mobile money technology like M-Pesa in Kenya and across East Africa has long shown the potential for other underserved markets. M-Pesa’s success is likely also behind for the increasing presence of mobile networks in the African financial sector and the convergence of the two sectors.
Since 2015, fintech startups in Africa have raised more than $100 million in investment. Last August, Flutterwave, a Lagos-based payments processing and infrastructure company, raised $10 million in its Series A round—one of the largest Series A rounds by an African startup. Fintech has also become a focus area for founders: of the over 300 fintech startups currently operational in Africa, more than half were founded between 2015 or 2016.