Ukheshe attracts undisclosed investment for acquisitions to fuel international expansion

uKheshe L-R Jason Penton, Mike Smits, Clayton Hayward and Paul Carter-Brown. Fourways, Johannesburg. 30 March 2022 Photograph: John Hogg

Ukheshe International, the UK-headquartered division of Banking as a Service (“BAAS”) enabler Ukheshe Group is raising funding that will help it accelerate its international expansion.

The investment will be led by ADP III, a fund advised by Development Partners International (“DPI”), alongside funds advised by Fireball Capital, a leading South African venture capital firm.

Founded in 2018, Ukheshe was established to drive financial inclusion across Africa and beyond, by creating new ways for businesses to develop and grow their financial services offerings. Since its founding, Ukheshe has scaled rapidly, and today serves over 100 customers across different sectors, including banks, fintechs, mobile network operators, and other small and medium-sized businesses. Ukheshe also continues to expand its international footprint with operations in Mauritius, Kenya, and UAE.

According to Clayton Hayward, Ukheshe Founder, and CEO said: “DPI, who as a leading Africa-focused investor, brings international market knowledge and experience in investing and creating value across the continent. Combined with the deep local market understanding of Fireball Capital, that has a track record of seizing opportunities in the fintech space, we are excited about Ukheshe’s future. As we look for new ways to build on our success, we will work together to accelerate our international strategy and reach more customers across the region.”

Though popular, Africa’s payments and fintech ecosystems sector remains underdeveloped, with many communities still lacking access to critical financial products and services, Ukheshe aims to be at the forefront of this fintech evolution by pioneering solutions to critical problems via its cutting-edge technologies.

The investment will enable Ukheshe to continue progressing its international ambitions. Ukheshe is well positioned to expand its footprint, entering complementary markets which are facing the same complex challenges that exist in Ukheshe’s core markets.

In addition to capital, DPI will look to support Ukheshe to further institutionalize the business, achieve its ambitious organic and inorganic growth plans, create quality employment opportunities, and support the financial inclusion of emerging markets. DPI’s experience in scaling industry focused platforms across multiple jurisdictions will support Ukheshe in achieving its strategic ambitions. 

“Our planned investment in Ukheshe is in line with our investment mandate of giving South African institutional investors access to the best technology-enabled businesses that are solving real-world problems, particularly in the financial services, education, and healthcare sectors. We look forward to partnering with the Ukheshe management team and DPI in the next growth phase of the business,” said Paula Mokwena, CEO at Fireball.

Ukheshe also continues to expand its international footprint with operations in Mauritius, Kenya, and UAE.

James Griffiths, Managing Director at DPI commented: “Ukheshe is at the forefront of innovation in payments and fintech, expanding financial inclusion and increasing access to affordable digital banking and payments services to customers across Africa. The business has scaled rapidly since 2018, building a strong runway for future growth as it looks to seize opportunities internationally and deploy its portfolio of solutions into diverse markets. We are excited to bring our experience in the sector and extensive market knowledge to the table, working closely with Clayton and his dynamic management team to help them realise their ambitions.”