MFS Africa $100 million Series C fund raising for massive expansion across Africa
London – 10 November 2021: MFS Africa, Africa’s largest digital payments network, has raised US$100 million through an equity and debt financing round. The fundraising marks another milestone in MFS Africa’s expansion, following a series of acquisitions and investments in other African fintechs, including the recently announced acquisition of Baxi in Nigeria.
The new investor, AfricInvest FIVE, is one of the most experienced private equity investors in the continent and co-led the round with existing investors Goodwell Investments and LUN Partners Group (“LUN Partners”). CommerzVentures, Allan Gray Ventures, Endeavor Catalyst and Endeavor Harvest also joined the round as new investors, while ShoreCap III returned as an existing investor with other funds. Providers of debt financing included Lendable and Norsad.
MFS Africa’s vision is to make borders matter less, which it enables through interoperability across payments schemes, borders and currencies. Over the last year, MFS Africa has accelerated its expansion efforts across Africa. The company has opened new offices in Abidjan, Kampala, Kinshasa, Nairobi and Lagos, in addition to establishing London as its new headquarters. MFS Africa recently signed an agreement to acquire Baxi, a leading super-agent in Nigeria, and plans to build Baxi into a key node, allowing regional payments into and from Nigeria.
MFS Africa is continuing to expand its network and will be opening additional regional offices in key African markets, as well as in the USA and China. The new funding will enable MFS Africa to hire additional talent in Africa and globally to support its exponential growth.
Furthermore, part of the new funding has been earmarked to continue strengthening the company’s Governance, Risks and Compliance (GRC) functions as well as its treasury and liquidity pool. MFS Africa will be continuing to invest in fintechs across the African payment ecosystem,
Dare Okoudjou, Founder and CEO of MFS Africa, said: “This round of funding marks the beginning of the next phase in our growth. We greatly appreciate the renewed and continued confidence in us by our longstanding investors LUN Partners, Goodwell Investments, ShoreCap III and others. We are also delighted to welcome our new investors AfricInvest, CommerzVentures, Endeavor Catalyst and Endeavor Harvest on board. This new fundraising round further demonstrates our commitment and the scale of our ambitions. For our clients across Africa and beyond, this is also a validation of the choice they have made to partner with us in building a network of networks that make instant cross-border payments as simple as making a phone call. We look forward to continuing to work with them to expand and deepen that network in the years to come.”
The pan-African investment platform, AfricInvest, has in-depth expertise in the African financial sector and a significant footprint across the continent, having made over 180 investments across more than 25 markets. As an established and highly respected private equity firm it provides MFS Africa with access to the considerable expertise of its African growth strategy and its advocacy efforts around the inclusion of less developed but high potential markets.
The series also saw Frankfurt-based fintech specialist investor CommerzVentures make its first investment in Africa. This partnership offers MFS Africa closer links with EU financial institutions and helps strengthen the company’s financial services capabilities and offerings.
Discussing the investment, Julius Tichelaar, Partner at AfricInvest FIVE said: “MFS Africa provides broad access to a large range of payment services for individuals and companies on the African continent, including remittance and trade-related financial services. This resonates well with AfricInvest FIVE’s financial inclusion strategy. Cross-border payments remain an important challenge in many African markets today and MFS Africa is uniquely positioned to confront this. We are excited to join MFS Africa’s world-class management team on its mission and to support its growth journey”.
Wim van der Beek, Managing Partner at Goodwell Investments says: “We made our first investment in MFS Africa four years ago, and throughout this time their team have consistently delivered on their plans. Over the years they have built a powerful platform, a strong network of partners and a world-class passionate and diverse organisation. We are delighted to co-lead their Series-C round together with AfricInvest FIVE. We look forward to continuing to support MFS Africa in their next stage of growth, delivering on their vision to deliver affordable payments and other financial services across Africa and beyond.”
Peilung Li, Chairman of LUN Partners Group, added, “We are very proud to be a partner to Dare and MFS Africa and have continuously supported the Company through multiple rounds of investment since we led the Series-B round. We have also been working closely with MFS Africa to build cross-border payment gateways between Africa and China and have supported the Company through several transformative M&A transactions. I am excited to see MFS Africa continue to build its financial ecosystem and in becoming a dominant player in the region.”
In 2010, MFS Africa forecast that mobile money wallets would be the most dominant digital wallet in Africa. Today, its hub connects over 320 million mobile money wallets. Through its network of over 180 mobile money schemes, banks, money transfer operators, and over 250 global enterprises, millions of Africans can exchange value with each other and the world.
About MFS Africa: MFS Africa is the leading digital payments gateway supported by a multi-cultural, multi-talented, agile team from over 30 different nations that is driven to create access to a borderless world – a world where access overcomes borders. Consistently at the forefront of relevant, timely tech innovations, we connect people across Africa – to each other and to the global digital economy. We transform payment systems, processes, mindsets, lives, and realities for the better. Conquering the barriers that foster exclusion and stifle opportunities. It’s no secret that mobile money has revolutionised access to certain financial services in Africa and much of the rest of the world. MFS Africa has been driving the next step in this revolution since its founding – to bring more possibilities, more connections, more interoperability to the mobile money user. Through our digital payment hub, our business portal and expanding partner network, we provide access to a world of innovative, simple, convenient, secure, affordable and compliant mobile financial solutions for all.
About Goodwell Investments: Goodwell Investments is a pioneering investment firm focused on financial inclusion, fintech and inclusive growth in sectors providing basic goods and services and income generation opportunities to the underserved. Since 2006, Goodwell has raised three funds with over US$120m in capital. Goodwell has invested equity in financial services and technology companies in India and Africa, operating in sectors ranging from classical microfinance to mobile payments, rural banking and affordable housing finance to merchant payment networks and public transport technology. Goodwell’s 25 portfolio companies have reached over 28 million households with more than US$2.1 billion in financial products and services, employing over 32,500 employees. African portfolio companies in the fintech field include Paga (Nigeria), Nomanini (South Africa), Musoni System (pan-African) and in mobility tech WhereIsMyTransport (pan-African). Find out more at: https://goodwell.nl/
About AfricInvest: AfricInvest was founded in 1994 and is today among the leading private equity firms in North and Sub-Saharan Africa, having raised $1.7 billion in its 26-year history. With 19 funds across four strategies, AfricInvest is sponsored by prestigious DFIs, private and institutional investors from Africa, Asia, Europe and North America. AfricInvest funds have dedicated teams covering the African continent and France for growth capital and LBO transactions related to small, mid and large cap companies, financial sector institutions and venture capital. AfricInvest has also a dedicated team providing private debt to SMEs in Africa. AfricInvest relies on a team of 80 highly skilled investment professionals, representing 19 nationalities, operating out of ten offices in Abidjan, Algiers, Cairo, Casablanca, Dubai, Lagos, Nairobi, Paris and Port Louis, Tunis. AfricInvest is a co-founder of the African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (www.avca-africa.org), and the Emerging Markets Private Equity Association (www.empea.org) as well as different PE country and regional associations in Africa and in France. For more information, please visit https://www.africinvest.com
About LUN Partners Group: LUN Partners Group is a global investment management group that operates multiple investment vehicles, including venture capital and private equity funds. The company also operates financial services firms that provide wealth management and financial advisory services. LUN Partners and its funds primarily invest in cutting edge, rapidly growing high-tech innovations overseas. Their distinctive approach is to help multiple portfolio companies navigate their entry into the Chinese market and collectively create an ecosystem of complementary businesses. Find out more at: http://lunpartners.com/
About CommerzVentures: Launched in 2014, CommerzVentures is a specialist fintech investor with €250m under management. CommerzVentures backs early and growth stage companies in the areas of financial services and insurance (and related technologies) across Europe, Israel, the US and now Africa. Portfolio companies have scalable and attractive business models, show success in their markets and need investments to support further growth. For more information, please visit https://commerzventures.com
About Equator Capital Partners LLC / ShoreCap III: Equator Capital Partners LLC’s ShoreCap International (2003 – 2014) and ShoreCap II Limited (2009 – present) are pioneering investment funds focused on inclusive finance and capacity building. Equator’s team has a history of broad engagement with its portfolio companies, including support for credit policies and procedures, new product introductions, equity and debt fundraising, good governance, IT and system support, as well building environmental and social awareness. Dedicated to inclusive finance in Africa, ShoreCap III will continue Equator’s partnership with forward-looking African management teams to invest in situations where there is a demonstrable market and social development opportunity. For more information, please visit www.equatorcap.net