MFS Africa and MoneyGram develop cross-border P2P payments
MFS Africa, which currently covers over 200 million mobile money recipients, was founded in 2010 to facilitate transactions to and from mobile wallets. It is hoped that partnering with MoneyGram, a global leader in P2P payments in more than 200 countries, will provide consumers in Africa with higher quality and more affordable payment solutions.
“MoneyGram is a prominent name in global payments, and we’re really excited to help them open up Africa to the international mobile money market,” commented Dare Okoudjou, founder and CEO of MFS Africa.
“In Africa, mobile money has already been a massive driver of financial inclusion and entrepreneurship, but cross-border payments are inhibited. There’s a patchwork of different regulatory regimes to navigate, as well as the distinct technical infrastructure that each telco, money transfer operator and digital wallet uses.”
Creating commercial opportunities
The importance of establishing a strong, integrated and dynamic payments infrastructure cannot be overstated, particularly for developing countries like those in Africa.
As Okoudjou alludes to, it is the first step for fostering both domestic and international economic cooperation and provides opportunities for communities to develop in the digital world.
By combining its local knowledge with MoneyGram’s large-scale and mobile-first practical experience, MFS Africa hopes to finally realise the continent’s latent potential. Okoudjou believes that the demand for digital payments is strong and increasing all the time:
“Just in July, we processed 2.5 million transactions, and, with partnerships such as this one and our acquisition of earlier this year, we are gearing up to make it easier for more consumers and businesses to transfer money within, into and beyond Africa.”
Accelerating digital growth
Kamila Chytil, COO of MoneyGram, added that this partnership recognised the emerging prevalence of digital payment solutions in the post-COVID-19 world.
"Our digital business has seen amazing growth over the past several years, and these new partnerships are important milestones as we execute our strategy to accelerate digital growth by expanding access to mobile wallet capabilities.
"Customer demand for mobile wallets has increased significantly over the last few years and with the onset of the global pandemic, the launch of these strategic partnerships is more important than ever."
Payment startup Mollie raises US$800m at a $6.5bn valuation
Mollie, one of the fastest-growing payment processors within Europe, today announced it has raised US$800m in a Series C funding round, now valuing the company at $6.5bn. The valuation, based on Dealroom data, makes Mollie the third most valuable privately-held European fintech behind Klarna and Checkout.com.
Blackstone Growth (BXG), Blackstone’s growth equity investing business, led the investment and included participation from EQT Growth, General Atlantic, HMI Capital and Alkeon Capital. TCV who led the Series B investment in September 2020 also participated in the funding round.
According to the company, the funding will fuel Mollie’s international expansion, team scaling, and continued investment in product and engineering.
“There’s something very special about Mollie. In the three months since I joined the team we’ve achieved so much: making preparations for a full launch in the UK, driving 600% growth in Germany and hiring an impressive set of team members and executives,” said Shane Happach, CEO, Mollie. “Over the past months, Mollie has been receiving a remarkable amount of interest from some of the world’s foremost fintech investors. In bringing on BXG, we believe we have an investor who can help Mollie in our next phase of growth. The involvement of our new group of investors demonstrates confidence in Mollie’s growth, strategy and product set.”
The Amsterdam-based business was launched in 2004, and is one of the largest PSPs in Europe. Today, it serves more than 120,000 monthly active merchants of all sizes across the continent. During 2020, Mollie processed more than 10 billion Euros in transactions and is on track to handle more than 20 billion Euros during 2021.
“Mollie is one of Europe’s most exciting high-growth businesses and is at the forefront of enabling next-generation payments for online SMEs across Europe. We are excited to partner with Mollie’s fantastic team and look forward to leveraging Blackstone’s capital, expertise and global network to unlock the company’s next phase of growth,” said Paul Morrissey, who leads European investing for Blackstone Growth. “This investment underlines Blackstone’s confidence in Europe as a place for high-growth companies to thrive.”
In Europe, FinTech app usage grew by 72% directly after the pandemic outbreak, while the top seven digital banks in the US grew their cumulative user base by 39% throughout the year. Competition in payments has grown over the past few years with fintech players like Stripe, Square and Netherlands-based Adyen all competing for a bigger share of the market.
Unlike its American rivals, Mollie says it mainly focuses on transactions with small businesses in Europe. Shane Happach, CEO of Mollie said: “A lot of the bigger players in online payments come out of the US, like PayPal,”. Adding that even Visa and Mastercard are US companies.
“A lot of investors don’t have a bet on Europe,” Happach said. “Mollie’s one of those unique assets that offers exposure.