- Cellulant’s co-founders made 400 pitches before securing $47.5M investment
- In 2017 financial technology startups in Africa secured $119M in venture funding
Mobile payments startup Cellulant secured a $47.5 million investment from a group of firms led by The Rise Fund. Cellulant has been recognized as one of the top providers of mobile financial services across Africa. How will the funds Cellulant raised impact the millions of people who still lack access to financial services across Africa?
Why This Matters: Mobile banking continues to be the most popular venture capital investment opportunity across Africa. In 2017 African startups secured $590 million in venture funding. Financial technology startups made up $119 million of that amount. The Rise Fund’s investment in Cellulant continues that trend. Right now the startup provides a series of products that reach 40 million users in 11 countries. These products include apps like Moola for bill pay transactions, the e-commerce-focused Tingg and its agriculture-focused blockchain technology Afrikore.
Cellulant has plans to expand to more African countries and roll out consumer-facing applications. “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,” said Cellulant Co-Founder Bolaji Akinboro. The startup’s expansion to consumer-facing products will be welcomed as only 17% of the continent has access to banking services.
Situational Awareness: Expect a battle to heat up between Cellulant and Kenyan mobile telecom giant Safaricom as the startup rolls out its consumer-facing applications. Safaricom is pushing to increase the stickiness of mPesa, its payment platform through Bimba its new messaging app. For now, Safaricom has an advantage with 29.5 million subscribers in Kenya.
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