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SA fintech wiGroup secures funding from Virgin, Smollan to boost global expansion

Cape Town based mobile software firm wiGroup has secured investment from the Virgin Group and retail solutions provider Smollan to fast-track its entry into emerging and developed markets.

The announcement was made in a press release today by wiGroup. The company did not disclose the size of the stake and sum of the investment.

This follows similar investment from Investec Asset Management in 2015 — also for an undisclosed sum. Ventureburn reported at the time that the Investec transaction was for a stake of between 25% and 50% of the company, in a deal reportedly believed by the industry to be worth just under a whopping R400-million.

Read more: From startup to fintech empire: WiGroup sells stake to Investec for ‘R400m’

WiGroup founder and CEO Bevan Ducasse says the investment comes as the company is looking to accelerate its global expansion programme.

He says the company’s presence in Europe and expansion into Australasia and emerging markets will be fast-tracked by leveraging both Virgin Group and Smollan’s extensive global networks.

WiGroup CEO Bevan Ducasse says the investment comes as the company is looking to accelerate its global expansion programme

The investment from the Virgin Group follows a successful partnership with wiGroup on the creation of Virgin Money South Africa’s new peer-to-peer payment app, Virgin Money Spot, which launched in this month and which allows customers to send money to friends in a “simple, safe and social way” according to wiGroup.

WiGroup, which was founded in 2007 by Ducasse, claims to have notched up year-on-year growth of “consistently over 45%” over the last number of years, and has grown its presence in countries including Namibia, Nigeria, Mauritius, and Ghana.

The company today claims to be the largest mobile transactional platform in Africa with over 75 000 integrated till points accepting mobile payments, loyalty and rewards transactions.

Ducasse says the business recently opened offices in Amsterdam, London and Paris, and is looking to the Middle East and Australia as key growth markets over the short to medium term.

“We hope to leverage our new partners’ extensive global footprints and explore opportunities to create shared value between our businesses.

“In addition, our strategic focus on Africa — which will be home to one-fifth of the global consumer market by 2025 — remains in place, especially in light of the continent’s high penetration and usage of mobile,” says Ducasse.

Investec Asset Management associate principal Adriaan Dippenaar said today that Investec Asset Management remains the largest shareholder in the business, and “holds more than 30% of the business”.

“Since Investec Asset Management’s investment in 2015, wiGroup has more than doubled revenues, client numbers and store footprint, and more than tripled transaction volumes,” said Dippenaar.

“The investment from Virgin and Smollan, comes at material valuation uplift to Investec Asset Management’s deal in 2015,” he added.

Featured image: WiGroup CEO Bevan Ducasse (Supplied)