TerraPay, a Payment Infrastructure Services firm that enables payment service providers such as banks, mobile money operators, money transfer operators or other payment providers to instantly connect to each other at a low cost also raised $9.6 million for expansion from the same investors, joined by IFC.
Founded in 2015, the firm has acquired more than 25 licenses to operate in over 60 countries in Africa, Asia and Europe and is expanding globally.
In a statement, Ambar Sur, Chief Executive Officer of TerraPay, said:“We believe in our mission to address financial inclusion by making real time national, regional and global payments accessible to everyone. We are excited by this validation from our marquee investors, and look forward to growing rapidly and reaching most of the world’s underserved in the coming years.”
The firm addresses the pain points people in many countries experience when trying to make payments across different channels. The cost to send money to and from emerging countries, especially in Africa and Asia, are some of the highest globally, averaging 9.3 percent compared to the global average of 7 percent, yet remittances are a major contributor to the GDP of recipient countries. A large portion of the remittance cost is related to cash handling at the sending and receiving end. At the same time, the digital payment ecosystem is fragmented with many mobile money providers developing their own network alongside financial institutions with no real interoperability solution.
The firm connects MTOs, mobile money networks and financial institutions to a simple, central platform where all payment players can reliably connect to any financial network, facilitating a seamless end-to-end customer payment experience.
The firm’s Payments Infrastructure opens the possibility to include merchants traditionally excluded from credit card systems, allow companies to pay salaries through mobile money accounts and help banks to settle remittances in real-time.
Pieter Welten, a partner at Prime Ventures said: “We identified TerraPay as an attractive investment opportunity. Led by a strong and experienced management team, TerraPay has a unique market position and strong economic moat comprising of licenses and regulatory approvals, a world-class digital payments platform and global network of partners. Our investment should allow the company to further expand and scale its operations.”
Paulo de Bolle, IFC’s Global Director, Financial Institutions Group, said: “By adding TerraPay to IFC’s growing fintech investment portfolio, we are supporting the company to grow and expand, while helping to lower the costs and streamline the process to send money home. Fintechs like TerraPay play a vital role in increasing financial inclusion in emerging markets.”
“We are excited to join efforts with an outstanding group of investors and a superb team for the next part of TerraPay’s journey,” said Cyril Collon, General Partner at Partech Africa. “We have been impressed by the cutting-edge platform TerraPay’s teams have developed. This platform will play a key role in reaching the interoperability goals necessary for true financial inclusion. The impact for end-customers is already massive in terms of quality of service, reliability and speed.”
Since its inception, the TerraPay founders focused on: (i) developing a robust, scalable and agile tech platform; and (ii) compliance and the acquisition of payment intermediary and money transfer licenses. TerraPay has built partnerships with global money transfer companies including Western Union, Visa, Xpress Money, MoneyTrans, Paga, Ria, Instant Cash, Ripple and MoneyGram.
Manoranjan Mohapatra, Chief Executive Officer of Comvivasaid: “We have been proud to be part of the progress that TerraPay has made over the last five years. The driving philosophy of all our incubations is to create significant value for our customer, community, shareholders and employees. The solutions we invest in should create value within the Comviva enterprise, or grow on their own to achieve their product vision; while generating worthwhile value for the shareholders. TerraPay’s forward path is in alignment with that underlying purpose.”
TerraPay has been advised by the FinTech M&A team of specialized investment bank Kempen & Co and Van Doorne, a law firm based in The Netherlands.