African FinTech fund exceeds expectations with $157m investment

lots of money

Apis Partners, a London-based private equity firm, has raised over $150m towards a FinTech fund that focuses on start-ups based in Africa and South Asia.

Launched in 2014, the investment fund hopes to improve the financial services sector within the two continents by promoting start-up innovation.

Apis hopes to support microbusinesses working within areas such as payments, savings and investments, credit and insurance. The Fund targets positions in partnership with management teams and entrepreneurs, and will provide active board participation as well as operational support.

The fund has received a large amount of global interest, raising a total of $157m. Investors include Intesa Sanpaolo and Old Mutual, as well as financial institutions such as CDC, the European Investment Bank, FMO and Swedfund.

VC organisations will be building upon last year’s success within the FinTech scene. Last year global FinTech investment totalled $12.2bn.

Investment firms will also hope to take advantage of the growth potential within Africa and South Asia. According to Apis, 2.2bn people reside in what is known as ‘growth areas’. Matteo Stefanel, co-founder of Apis believes that growth markets will be at the centre of FinTech investment.

‘‘We strongly believe that the next wave of business-model innovation in financial services will come from growth markets.’’

‘‘As income in these markets continue to rise, so will demand for financial services, representing an unique opportunity for those entrepreneurs creating innovative and cost-effective solutions. We aim to back those entrepreneurs.’’

Current investors are determined to improve the financial services industry throughout the two continents.

‘‘In Africa and South Asia, improved access to financial services is critical to provide the capital to businesses and individuals that enables job creation and economic development,’’ said Murray Grant, CDC managing director.

‘‘As one of the first financial services-focused funds in both Africa and South Asia, Apis will play an important role in meeting the demand for greater financial inclusion. CDC’s investment will support this development and by backing a first-time team, aims to mobilise further capital into the sector.’’

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