Cellulant, a leading digital payment solution headquartered in Kenya with operations across 11 African countries has raised $47.5 million in its Series C round from TPG’s Rise Fund.
The investment described as the largest of its kind dedicated solely to Africa’s fintech and payments space was led by TPG’s Rise Fund alongside Endeavor Catalyst and Satya Capital.
“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, CEO, and co-founder of The Rise Fund. “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.”
Rise Fund is backed by Swedish pension fund and the Washington State Investment board and this deal marks its initial investment in Africa.
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. Building on a business model that first debuted in Kenya and Nigeria in 2004, the company has since expanded its services across 11 African markets serving over 40 million people with roughly 12% of Africa’s mobile consumers using its solutions.
“Payments in Africa are not a novelty. With two-thirds of Africans unable to access a bank account, we believe that building a connected payments infrastructure is the foundation of solving real challenges and accelerating Africa’s growth and development. This investment from TPG Growth’s The Rise Fund will enable us to build a world-class payments team that can unlock our next phase of growth. This involves not only entering new geographies across the continent but also consolidating our presence in existing markets,” said Ken Njoroge, Cellulant co-founder, and Group CEO.
This 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.
“With this new capital and as part of our scaling up strategy, we are leveraging on the growing mobile penetration trend in Africa to broaden our reach and extend our payments ecosystem across the continent. We are scaling up our existing payments products in the agriculture sector, digital banking and internet payments; as well as introducing consumer-focused products to complement the enterprise products we already have. This will allow us to increase access to payments for the millions of Africans who are still unbanked, despite the financial inclusion revolution,” added Bolaji Akinboro, Cellulant co-founder and CEO of Cellulant Nigeria.
The investment in Cellulant is a validation of the confidence investors have in Africa’s fintech environment that is playing a critical role in enabling financial inclusion where only 17% of the overall population have access to banks.
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.