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Kowry Energy wins Rolls-Royce as investor, appoints former British Africa Minister Lord Bellingham to its Board

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Kowry Energy founder – Ndiarka Mbodji (Image & press release by: Lydia-Claire Halliday)

Kowry Energy is proud to have Rolls-Royce Power Systems, as an investor as it launches across Sub-Saharan Africa. The Berlin-based company will empower local, independent energy companies with decentralized energy systems to provide communities and local industries with reliable access to clean energy.

“The African market for decentralized energy supply offers great potential. The geographical conditions provide the best opportunity to build a climate-friendly, local power supply for industrial and community customers that operates with a minimum of fossil fuels. As a young company, Kowry Energy can adapt to the realities of the fast-growing African energy market.

Rolls-Royce as investor and industry partner provides Kowry with a strong positioning in the market. The start-up can rely on our support and know-how in implementing their projects,” explains Power Systems CFO Louise Öfverström on the investment.

“We believe that solving the climate challenge facing our planet will only succeed with the inclusion of the 600 million people of Sub-Saharan Africa living without energy today. This requires innovative business-models that enable sustainable energy access with scale and speed. With a scale-based business model and Rolls-Royce Power Systems as our investor we are confident that Kowry Energy will achieve this,” explains founder Ndiarka Mbodji.

In cooperation with local independent power providers and operators, Kowry Energy will supply energy solutions using photovoltaic systems and battery storage for demand of up to 1MW. This minimizes the use of fossil fuels and makes optimal use of the climatic conditions in Africa. Kowry Energy supports its customers every step of the way; from project development & design to sourcing the equipment and offers its customers fully integrated hybrid solutions.

“Africa is one of the most important growth markets and the demand for reliable, renewable and affordable energy will increase massively. That’s where Kowry Energy comes in. The business model has convinced me,” says former British Africa Minister Lord Bellingham, who alongside Rolls-Royce Power Systems CFO Louise Öfverström, and German-African Business Association Chairman, Prof. Dr. Stefan Liebing, forms the Board of Kowry Energy.

“We are excited to be launching this year in Mali and Nigeria and to see our business model validated by a current projects pipeline of 17$millions and growing rapidly, and I look forward to welcoming more investors committed to sustainable energy access in Sub-Saharan Africa ”, says Mbodji.

 

 

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Investment

Wapi Pay secures $2.2 million to expand Africa-Asia trade payments and remittances

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Left: Paul Ndichu Co-Founder, Right: Eddie Ndichu Co-Founder & CEO (Image & Release: Wapi Pay)

Wapi Pay, based in Singapore and headquartered in Kenya has raised $2.2 Million in pre-seed funding to scale up global payments and remittances between Africa and Asia. Making international transfers faster, easier and much cheaper. The investors included EchoVC & China based global fund MSA Capital, who have invested in domestic Asian unicorns such as Meituan and NIO, and international unicorns such as Nubank and Klarna. Additional investors include Kepple Africa Ventures. Existing investors are Future Hub, Gobi Ventures and Transsion Holding.

Eddie Ndichu, co-founder at Wapi Pay commented on this funding milestone: “These funds will help Wapi Pay diversify our products range and drive growth so that we can evolve remittances into real-time global cross-border payments, starting with Africa and Asia. All while minimising the cost of transactions, it needs to be as easy as sending M-PESA”

EchoVC commented on this funding milestone: “Wapi Pay is an exciting fintech that is removing friction in an enormous payments space for Africa and powering the circular trade economy. As the symbiotic relationship between Africa and Asia deepens, Wapi Pay’s ecosystem of services will become increasingly critical to bridge and drive economic value between the two continents. We look forward to working with Paul and Eddie on this next phase of growth.”

MSA Capital commented on this funding milestone: “Africa to Asia is a large trading corridor overlooked and underserved by tech today. We believe Wapi Pay is the best team to build the necessary infrastructure to support its growing trade volumes. We are excited to support with our extensive China fintech network and playbook.”

Wapi Pay focuses on the Africa-Asia remittance corridor. China-Africa trade jumped 27% to $52.1 billion in the first quarter of this year 2021 compared with 2020, buoyed by the recovery of economies after the coronavirus pandemic.

Today traders have to endure high remittances fees of up to 15% of the amount, waiting period of up to five days, and are exposed the high risk of consistent reversals due to unmatched instructions, with Wapi Pay the cost reduces to below 3% and same day payout.

Sub-Saharan Africa remains the most expensive region to send money to and out, according to the World Bank, with the average cost of sending $200 being 8.02% of the principal amount compared with 4.64% for South Asia, the lowest cost globally. Seamless payment platforms such as Wapi Pay can greatly ease trade and investments, according to Ndichu.

“Wapi Pay bypasses traditional payment networks, optimizing efficiency and cost for our customers. Users choose the delivery channels they want such as Bank to Bank, Wallet to Wallet, Bank to Wallet and Wallet to Bank options to transfer funds as well as make merchant payments, with settlement done within 24 hours.”

Wapi Pay is in China, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, India, Taiwan and Vietnam — working with local banks and platforms. It targets to process $500 million in remittances by the end of 2022, grow the number of registered suppliers and beneficiaries in Asia to 100,000; and sign up at least 500,000 merchants, traders and businesses in Africa.

 

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CreditFins, Egypt’s first Credit Card management platform, closes a pre-seed funding round

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CreditFins Team 

CreditFins, a Credit Card management and financial wellness startup and the first of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa(MENA), closed a pre-seed round of investment led by Flat6Labs, AUC Angels, and TA Telecom Holding. Other Angel Investors with backgrounds in technology and investment participated in the funding, which CreditFins is deploying towards developing the product and acquiring users.

“Credit Fins has developed a cutting-edge financial technology solution to alleviate bank customers’ financial struggles, kicking off in Egypt and expanding to new markets. Add to that their solid founding team who continue to grow their business, is a sure recipe for success. Flat6labs is proud to be part of their success journey.” said Albert Malaty, Managing Director of Flat6Labs Cairo Seed Program.

CreditFins helps users repay their Credit Card debt while saving money. It is a cheaper, more convenient solution for debt repayment through fixed, lower monthly installments as part of a plan that can be easily tracked. CreditFins’ customers save 20-50% of the interest they would have paid with their bank.

“CreditFins stood out amongst their cohort because of a clear strength in the team. The diversity in their experience, and their resourceful approach to addressing the problem they’ve identified, was apparent to investors. We look forward to witnessing the growth and pivots they will go through in their mission to empower their user base through enhanced financial tools.” said Mariam Kamel, Manager of AUC Angels.

As total outstanding credit card debt in Egypt stood at more than $2 billion as of 2019, CreditFins is on a mission to grant its customers financial freedom. CreditFins is aware that falling into the vicious debt cycle is due to inaccessibility of information and lack of awareness, a gap the startup seeks to fill.

The startup is actively working to launch “CreditFins Alpha” card, introducing more features to its solution, as it strives to make its credit card management platform more compelling and to widen its customer base.

“Credit card debt is a moving target that’s hard to settle. At CreditFins, we work with our customers to settle the debt they have in a faster and cheaper way, along with providing them with financial information and empowering them with the right tools to be financially liberated” said Sherif Radi, co-founder and CEO of CreditFins.

The company is founded by a team with extensive experience in innovation and product building. Co-Founder and CEO Sherif Radi has over 17 years of experience in innovation strategy. As former CEO of TA Telecom, his work focused on innovation, customer-centric solutions, and building new products. Co-founder and CPO, Gamal Sadek, is a tech-entrepreneur with over 11 years of experience in entrepreneurship, during which he co-directed the Founder Institute chapter in Egypt and co-founded Bey2ollak, Egypt’s number one mobile app for crowdsourcing traffic information used by over 1.3 million commuters in Egypt.

Co-founder and CCO Norhan El Sakkout, was previously an investment associate at LimeVest Partners and Beltone Private Equity, having worked at Endeavor Egypt on accelerating high-impact SMEs, then at TA Telecom; she brings the know-how in investment, finance and business continuity.

 

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Yoco raises US$83m to scale its financial ecosystem for small businesses in South Africa

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Yoco Founders (Images: Ivy Shirinda-JNPR)

Yoco, South African payments and software platform, has secured $83 million (R1.2 billion)  in Series C funding amid a surge in demand for digital payments amongst African small businesses.

The latest investment round brings the total funds raised to date, by Yoco, to US$107 million. These funds will enable Yoco to accelerate the development of its financial ecosystem, which already includes online and in-store payments, business software and capital, as well as expand its market presence beyond South Africa.

Among the company’s new investors are Dragoneer Investment Group, which is making its Africa investment debut, Breyer Capital, HOF Capital, The Raba Partnership, 4DX Ventures, TO Ventures, Futuregrowth and several current and former executives from global tech leaders such as Coinbase, Revolut, Spotify and Gojek.

“We are excited to partner with such world-class investors who have joined our quest to break barriers and create access to financial services for millions of small businesses across the continent.” said Katlego Maphai, the chief executive office of Yoco, “Looking ahead, this investment will unlock capacity for us to accelerate product development for our merchants and continue on our growth trajectory in South Africa and beyond.”

In less than six years, Yoco has become the preferred payments partner for over 150 000 small businesses across South Africa, processing more than US$1 billion in card payments per year. Importantly, Yoco’s growth has been driven almost exclusively by small, independent businesses that were previously cash-only due to the complexity and high costs of existing alternatives.

Carl Wazen, Yoco’s chief business officer, says that despite being the largest payments platform in South Africa, Yoco is still at the beginning of its journey.  “There are over 6 million small businesses in South Africa and well over 100 million across the Middle East and Africa that still transact only in cash.” Wazen says “recent consumer behaviour shows a shift away from cash and businesses have to rapidly adapt to this change. This presents a huge opportunity and it is our mission to support that transition.”

Yoco team

Yoco has big plans for seizing this opportunity by continuing to deepen its market presence in South Africa and expanding into Africa and the Middle East region over the next two years. The goal, according to Wazen, is to reach at least a million merchants within the next four years.

“Working so closely with small businesses during a global pandemic, and in particular through a challenging socio-economic environment in South Africa, we have a firsthand account of how agile these businesses need to be in a rapidly changing world,” says Maphai.

“Removing barriers and levelling the playing field by creating access to financial tools is a big part of answering these challenges. Yoco is at the forefront of solving what is critical for small businesses and enabling them to thrive. This new capital injection translates into an acceleration of access for small businesses in our region and beyond, bringing our vision of open commerce forward,” concludes Maphai.

 

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