Cellulant, a digital payments provider that reaches 40 million people across 11 African countries has sold a $47.5m stake to the Rise Fund, an impact investing fund managed by growth equity platform TPG Growth, to broaden its reach and extend its payments ecosystem across the continent.
According to Bill McGlashan, CEO and co-founder of The Rise Fund, “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. We’re excited to invest in African entrepreneurs like Ken and Bolaji to help them grow their businesses and expand their impact on society. Cellulant is a perfect partner for The Rise Fund’s first investment in Africa.”
The Rise Fund is investing alongside Endeavor Catalyst and Satya Capital. First launched in Kenya and Nigeria in 2004, Cellulant has since expanded its services across 11 African markets, including: Zambia, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Uganda, Botswana, Mozambique, Malawi, and Liberia.
Cellulant’s digital payments platform delivers connected, flexible payment options for consumers and businesses, and works with financial institutions, governments and mobile network operators to increase transparency and expand their reach in Africa.
The Rise Fund, Satya Capital and Endeavor Catalyst join Cellulant’s existing shareholders Velocity Capital Private Equity, Progression Capital Africa Limited and TBL Mirror Fund. Representatives from The Rise Fund will also join Cellulant’s Board of Directors, leveraging the firm’s experience, deep sector knowledge, operational resources, and global experience to drive increased value creation for the business and its mission.
The $47.5m investment will also help scale existing Cellulant products, like Agrikore. Agrikore is a mobile blockchain-based platform that has served more than 7 million farmers across the continent, better connecting them to the market and helping them sell their goods to a diverse range of buyers more easily. It also expands access to government subsidy programs to help reduce costs for farmers, increase their yields, and raise incomes.
Bolaji Akinboro, Cellulant co-founder and CEO of Cellulant Nigeria said the new capital will help the firm scale up its existing payments products in the agriculture sector, digital banking and internet payments; as well as introducing consumer-focused products to complement the enterprise products it already has.
“This will allow us to increase access to payments for the millions of Africans who are still unbanked, despite the financial inclusion revolution,” he said.