In a statement announcing the acquisition yesterday (21 March), Lagos based Amplify said the deal — which took effect on 1 March — will see OneFi add Amplify’s assets, trademarks, as well as the fintech’s flagship products AmplifyPay and mTransfers to its portfolio.
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The acquisition will also see Amplify co-founder and CTO Maxwell Obi (pictured above, right) join OneFi as head of payments and SME services, while Amplify co-founder and CEO Segun Adeyemi will leave to pursue new ventures.
As part of the acquisition, Amplify co-founder and CTO Maxwell Obi joins OneFi as head of payments and SME services
Amplify was conceived in 2015 after Obi and Adeyemi met at MEST Africa‘s Entrepreneurial Training Programme in Accra. Over the last three years the startup has grown to support over 1000 merchants and facilitate digital transactions for four of Nigeria’s largest banks.
Obi said in the statement that the “key factor” which stood out in the duo’s decision to work with OneFi was that they saw the finance company as an “extension” of their vision.
“We stepped into this industry to use our payment solutions to facilitate a growing economy, and OneFi’s focus on financial inclusion feeds well into this. It’s a real example of a collaborative effort, and I’m excited to see the next chapter of our development,” he said.
OneFi founder and CEO Chijioke Dozie (pictured above, left) described his company’s first acquisition as a “strategic decision”. The move, he said, kicks off the firm’s transformation from a digital lender to become what he called a “diverse” digital financial services platform focused on transactions, payments and loans.
Dozie said his company had been courting Amplify “for just over a year”. He said the acquisition “will ensure” that OneFi meets its “ambitious goal” of doubling its size in Nigeria this year.
“We have long respected the Amplify team for their ability to provide innovative solutions under adverse conditions, and we look forward to blending our expertise to power the future of fintech infrastructure and digital payments in Africa.” he said.
Earlier this month OneFi announced that it had secured a $5-million debt facility from New York and Nairobi-based debt platform Lendable. OneFi at the time said the investment will be used to deploy more loans on its consumer facing mobile platform Paylater (see this story).
‘OneFi shares similar vision’
Obi told Ventureburn in an email on 22 March that AmplifyPay, Amplify’s recurring payment gateway solution, had grown from 50 to over 1500 merchants processing billions of Naira yearly.
He added that last year, the startup had partnered with five banks to launch mTransfers — a social banking solution that helps offer their customers services within the context of social media conversations.
“mTransfers has helped customers perform over 70 000 P2P transfers across two of these banks worth over 550 million Naira,” said Obi, who added that at the time of the acquisition Amplify was a team of “less than 10 people”.
He explained that Amplify’s goal was to facilitate digital financial services for individuals and businesses. “OneFi is a company on the same path and shares a similar vision — This was paramount for us,” he said.
Asked whether exiting the startup was a shared goal for both founders, Obi said the goal has always been to help businesses grow and improve the lives of individuals through quality financial services.
“We are excited because that goal is still alive. OneFi’s mission is to empower people with access to credit and simple payment solutions,” he added.
MEST’s fifth exit
With the acquisition, Amplify has become the fifth MEST Africa company to be acquired, and the first in the fintech vertical. The startup secured its first investment in 2016 from MEST. Other exits include Ghanaian startups medtech ClaimSync in 2013 and chat app Saya Mobile in 2014.
MEST managing director Aaron Fu, commenting in the same statement, described Amplify’s acquisition by an “established and well-known player” in Nigeria’s fintech sector as being a “really significant” moment in MEST Africa’s 11-year history.
“Watching Segun and Maxwell develop Amplify into a market leader in just three years has been thrilling to see, and we expect to see many more African tech start-ups take this route to market.
“Our hope is that the Amplify journey will be an inspiration to thousands of entrepreneurs in the making,” added Fu.
Editor’s note (26 March 2019): The article has been updated to include OneFi founder and CEO Chijioke Dozie, as well as OneFi head of payments and SME services Maxwell Obi’s comments.
Featured image, left to right: OneFi founder and CEO Chijioke Dozie and former Amplify co-founder and CTO, OneFi head of payments and SME services Maxwell Obi