Cellulant raises $47.5m in series C funding
Written by Peter Walker
TPG Growth’s impact investing vehicle The Rise Fund has signed an agreement to acquire a stake in Cellulant, a digital payments provider that reaches 40 million people across 11 African countries.
The deal is the largest of its kind dedicated solely to Africa’s FinTech and payments space, with Rise investing alongside Endeavor Catalyst, Satya Capital, Velocity Capital, and Progression Africa.
“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,” said Bill McGlashan, chief executive and co-founder of The Rise Fund.
Cellulant’s platform delivers flexible payment options for consumers and businesses, working with financial institutions, governments and mobile network operators to increase transparency and expand their reach in Africa.
The business started in Kenya and Nigeria in 2004, expanding across 11 African markets, including Zambia, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Uganda, Botswana, Mozambique, Malawi, and Liberia.
“Cellulant occupies a unique position in the FinTech ecosystem in Africa, with the potential to offer increased access, savings, and income to tens of millions of users across the continent,” said Yemi Lalude, managing partner for TPG in Africa. “As more and more smartphones come online across Africa, Cellulant makes it easy for customers to increase their incomes.”
Nearly two-thirds of people across the continent do not have a bank account, so Cellulant helps them open accounts, cut fees and save for the future, as well as helping farmers and small and medium sized business owners expand their reach through improved financial services. More than 94 per cent of Cellulant’s customer base was previously unbanked before they signed up.
“This investment from The Rise Fund will enable us to build a world class payments team that can unlock our next phase of growth,” said Cellulant co-founder and group chief executive Ken Njoroge. “This involves not only entering new geographies across the continent, but also consolidating our presence in existing markets.”
Representatives from The Rise Fund will join Cellulant’s board, leveraging the firm’s experience, sector knowledge and operational resources to drive increased value creation for the business.
This investment will also help scale existing Cellulant products, like Agrikore, a mobile blockchain-based platform that has served more than 7 million farmers across the continent. It also expands access to government subsidy programs to help reduce costs for farmers, increase their yields, and raise incomes.