Interswitch extends the $10 million ‘ePayment Growth Fund’ to East Africa
Interswitch Group has announced the extension of a $10 million (approximately Ksh.1 billion) ePayment Growth Fund to East Africa. The fund targets any African startup at growth stage that has come up with disruptive concepts within the digital commerce payments industry in Africa. The ePayment Growth Fund targets at offering entrepreneurs working capital to scale their startups in return for equity.
“This fund is intended to serve as a catalyst for funding innovation and disruptive business concepts within the digital payment and commerce industry across Africa.
Any African startup at any stage of growth that has disruptive concepts with a proven business model within the digital payments and commerce industry in Africa can qualify for funding.”
-Paul Ndichu, Chief Executive, Interswitch East Africa
The company is looking to collaborate with African entrepreneurs and startups that are developing innovative products that empower Africans to participate in emerging payment ecosystems.
Interswitch is a Nigeria-based, transaction switching and electronic payments processing company. It was founded in 2002. Interswitch was majority acquired by Helios Investment Partners for $96 million in 2011 thus translating them to majority shareholders with a 52 percent stake. Helios are best known in Kenya for their large investments in Equity Bank, Wananchi Online and Telkom Kenya.
Interswitch itself entered Kenya by buying 85% of Kenya’s Paynet Holdings in 2014. Paynet started in Kenya in 2003 and is known for a number of innovations including building PesaPoint network of ATMs and agents in Kenya, linking ATMs with M-Pesa and driving the adoption of EMV chip cards. As of now, Interswitch serves over 22 Banks and 3 Telcos in Kenya.
Earlier this month, Interswitch Group also announced that 12 Banks in Kenya have signed with Verve International. Verve International is the company’s payment solution which allows customers to make payments across the lenders’ network in over 3,000 point of sale terminals, 1,300 ATMs and 12,000 agency banking outlets.
Verve Card is accepted in 19 African countries, issued by 40 banks and has more than 32 million digital payment tokens and cards in circulation. In short, Verve is the first African card that competes with Visa and MasterCard.