Transsion Holdings, the Chinese phone manufacturer behind TECNO, Infinix and iTel brands has partnered Kenya’s Wapi Capital to invest up to $100,000 into early-stage fintech startups in Africa.
Set to start in September 2019 under Transsion Holdings Future Hub, the two firms will select early-stage fintech startups from across Africa for equity-based investments of up to $100,000.
The startups will be based at Transsion’s new tech hub dubbed Future Hub under Senior Investor Laura Li in Nairobi. Transsion will work with its companies such as Phoenix, its African-focused browser company: Scoop its Google news alternative and, Boomplay its music streaming service to develop more pan-African solutions and invest in other verticals apart from fintech.
Vericals set to get equity investments from Transsion Future Hub include startups in adtech, e-commerce, logistics, and media and entertainment from across the continent.
Wapi Capital, owned by Nairobi-based mother firm Wapi Pay, will not contribute funds to the startup fund, but it will help identify startups from across Africa, screen them and help with diligence and deal flow.
The firms says there partnership was due to the fact that the information technology sector in Africa is growing at an average of 10-20 percent and accounts to more that five percent of the GDP in some countries.
According to a 2019 report by Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), East Africa’s growth has been bolstered by the fintech – sector which has leapfrogged other traditional drivers such as agriculture, due to poor rains among others.
As Africa’s largest phone seller, with nearly 125m phones sold in 2018, Transsion Holdings will use the Future Hubs to build platforms for the future for Africa and majorly as content for its devices. To any Chinese firm, ownership is important and so is both manufacturing and digital content.
To own the entire supply chain, Transsion needs to own both the devices and content platforms. Phoenix, Scoop and Boomplay music are just a start even though they have been pivotal in growing the firms appetite for African content before any other global players do so in the digital scramble for Africa.
Away from seed funding and startup investments, Wapi Pay recently partnered Singapore’s FOMO Pay to power the $1Billion Afro Asia market with payment gateways and solutions between the two corridors as traffic between the two continents grow.
The two companies look to build the first Africa – Asia access through partnerships and platform integrations to allow easier, cheaper and faster payments and remittances for purchase of goods and services, salary payments and trade. These new payment rails will open up the Kenyan and African markets to the billion populate Asian market, facilitating women and youth employment via e-commerce, acceleration of trade and build of the deficit gaps to enhance further business relationships.
Wapi Pay and FOMO have started in Kenya and are expanding to Ghana, Zambia and Uganda and Nigeria before the end of the year.
FOMO Pay is a one-stop QR code payment solution that enables merchants to accept a variety of payment methods including WeChat Pay, NETSPay, Grab Pay, SingTel Dash, EZLink Pay, mVISA, among others. Wapi Pay will help local traders pay Chinese merchants via any platforms they use via its partnership with FOMO Pay. WAPI Pay will also give Chinese tourists access to local, meaningful products, services and experiences whenever they come to the country.
Kenyan traders spent $3.5 billion on Asian products while Africans entirely spent $204 billion on Asian products. With the partnership, Singapore’s FOMO aims to be the go-to platform for such Afro-Asian payments.