Africa Roundup: African startups turn to fintechs this winter season

Forty-seven and a half million dollars is a big investment for African technology companies – even with the recent surge in VC investment on the continent.

But for the Kenyan fintech company Cellulant, whose digital payment platform has processed 7 million worth of $ 350 million worth of transactions in 33 African countries just last month, the company said. increase of the amount sense.

In 2017, the company processed payments of $ 2.7 billion, said managing director, Ken Njoroge.

Customers include the continent's largest banks: Barclays Bank, Standard Chartered, Standard Bank and Ecobank. Cellulant also has multiple sources of revenue and is positive on EBITDA, according to its CEO.

So, what does an African technology company do with $ 47.5 million? "The cycle must accelerate our growth by about 20% … north of 50%," Njoroge said. "The bulk of the investment is to expand our existing platform in Africa and develop the use of our existing network."

Founded in 2004, Cellulant offers inter-company, B2B and P2B services on its Mula and Tingg products. He is also developing an Agrikore product based on the blockchain for agriculture-related market activity.

On Africa's Digital Payments Potential, "We have built internal value models that estimate the market size between $ 25 and $ 40 billion," Njoroge said.

He differentiates Cellulant's focus from Safaricom's M-Pesa – one of Africa's most recognized payment products – by type and scope of transaction. "Kenya M-Pesa is being optimized as a P2P platform in some African countries, and we are being optimized as a P2B and monotube platform in several African countries," he said. declared.

One of these countries is the economic power and population of Nigeria – where Cellulant offers both its Ting and Agrikore applications. Nigeria is also home to notable digital payment companies Paga and Interswitch, the latter of which has extended to all of Africa and is considered a candidate for a public offering.

On a future Cellulant bid, "it's too early," said Njoroge. But he does not exclude it. "When you look at the size of the payments business, you could say that we have strong enough prospects to go in that direction."

TONY KARUMBA / AFP / Getty Images

Meanwhile, Nigerian start-up Piggybank.ng has closed the $ 1.1 million financing and announced a new product – Smart Target, which offers a safer and higher return option for clubs. 39 Esusu or Ajo collective savings in West Africa. ]

Funding was led by a $ 1 million commitment from LeadPath Nigeria, with Village Capital and Ventures Platform joining the round.

Founded in 2016, Piggybank.ng offers online savings plans – primarily to low- and middle-income Nigerians – for small-money deposits on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis. There are no upfront fees.

Investors earn interest rates between 6 and 10%, depending on the type and duration of the investment, says Somto Ifezue of Piggybank.ng in this TechCrunch exclusive.

The startup generates returns for small savers (primarily) by investing in Nigerian government securities, such as bonds and treasury bills.

Piggybank.ng generates revenue through asset management and from the float that its balances generate in partner banks.

The Lagos-based start-up will use its $ 1.1 million in seed funding for "licensing and product development," according to the company's chief operating officer, Odunayo Eweniyi.

Piggybank.ng seeks to develop clients through the youngest Nigerians and informal savings groups in the country and has taken preliminary steps to launch in other African countries.

The lead investor and founder of LeadPath Nigeria, Olumide Soyombo, was attracted to Piggybank.ng as an acquisition target.

"Banks have been slow to try new things in this space of savings … Piggy Bank is coming … and responding to a particular need, so they are in a very acquisitive space."

UTOMI PIUS EKPEI / AFP / Getty Images

More stories about Africa @TechCrunch

African Tech around the Net