Digital payments provider Cellulant has raised a Series C round of funding from TPG Growth’s Rise Fund. With a reach of over 40 million people in Africa and a presence in 34 countries, Cellulant has proven to be a noteworthy investment for venture capital funds.
Joining the Fray, the Rise Fund, Satya Capital and Endeavour Catalyst join a strong pedigree of shareholders in Velocity Capital Private Equity, Progression Capital Africa Limited and TBL Mirror Fund. Together the funds have a shared aim to extend the platform’s digital payments reach across the continent. “We’re thrilled to have Endeavor Catalyst joining this round for Cellulant,” said Linda Rottenberg, CEO of Endeavor. “With Cellulant, Ken, Bolaji and team are building a great example of something we hope to see much more of in the years ahead: true ‘scale-ups’ in Africa!”
The digital payments platform offers a variety of mobile banking solutions, including remittances, mobile wallet transfers and financial services to vastly unbanked populations. According to Bill McGlashan, Chief Executive of The Rise Fund, this is what makes Cellulant such an appealing prospect. “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.”
TPG backs the investment made by the Rise Fund and is looking forward to the potential growth and scalability that the company could undergo with smartphone penetration on the rise. “Cellulant occupies a unique position in the fintech ecosystem in Africa, with the potential to offer increased access, savings, and income to tens of millions of users across the continent,” said Yemi Lalude, Managing Partner for TPG in Africa. “As more and more smartphones come online across Africa, Cellulant makes it easy for customers to increase their incomes.”
Launched in 2004 by Kenyan born, Ken Njoroge and Nigeria’s Bolaji Akinboro, Cellulant has established headquarters in both Lagos and Nairobi. The venture was conceived over dinner when the two met and armed with a business model on the back of a serviette and a paltry USD 3 K the pair set off. Now with one of the most massive fintech war chests on the continent, both Njoroge and Akinboro are relishing the challenge of expansion.
“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 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.
In addition to team growth, scaling its agriculture sector, internet payments, and digital banking, Njoroge and Akinboro are diversifying their interests and in investing in Agrikore. Agrikore is a mobile blockchain-based platform that caters to more than 7 million farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa connecting them with markets and expanding their network of buyers. The Series C round puts Cellulant on the map with the likes of M-Pesa when it comes to mobile payments – pushing the boundaries of fintech innovation on the continent.
Feature image courtesy: Velocity Capital