Private equity group TPG has announced its first venture into the African market as its Rise Fund acquired a stake in telco firm Cellulant.
TPG will buy a $47.5m stake in the digital payments provider, which reaches around 40 million people over 11 African countries.
The Rise Fund is making the investment alongside Endeavor Catalyst, Satya Capital, Velocity Capital & Progression Africa.
Yemi Lalude, managing partner for TPG in Africa, stated: "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.
"As more and more smartphones come online across Africa, Cellulant makes it easy for customers to increase their incomes."
Cellulant, which was initially set up in 2002 by Bolaji Akinboro and Ken Njoroge, and focuses on delivering connected flexible payment options for consumers and businesses across financial institutions, governments and mobile network operators.
"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,” stated Bill McGlashan, CEO and co-founder of The Rise Fund.
"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."
Co-founder Ken Njoroge added: "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 ofsolving real challenges and accelerating Africa’s growth and development.
"This investment from TPG Growth’s The Rise Fund will enable us to build a world class payments team that can unlock our next phase of growth."