South Africa’s payment fintech startup Ozow secured the sum of $48 million in a recently-concluded Series B funding round led by China’s giant Tencent. Other investors that participated in the highly-anticipated funding round include Endeavor Catalyst and Endeavour Harvest Fund.
Founded in 2014 by Thomas Pays, the company’s CEO, Ozow was created to narrow the financial inclusion gap and provide access to financial services through open banking. The company makes available alternate payments solutions that make paying for goods and services convenient and seamless.
Ozow was initially called i-pay before the name was changed in 2019 after its Series A round led by Kalon Venture Partners where it raised $2.5 million. Since the rebranding, the company has worked tirelessly to provide top-notch services for its users. Ozow has witnessed 100 percent YoY growth and has a monthly transaction volume of more than $100 million.
Its lead investor, Tencent, well-known to be one of the biggest companies in Asia invested $20 million in Ozow, just $4 million short of half of the total money raised from the round. The other participating investors invested the remaining money.
Ozow has done impressively well from when it started. It offers alternative payments solutions such as point of sale (PoS), QR codes, e-commerce, peer-to-peer payments (P2P), e-billing, etc., across South Africa. The company claims to be developing automated bank-to-bank payment solutions in South Africa for more than 47 million bank accounts customers and over 100 sectors. The company has a wide range of clients that includes enterprise companies such as Vodacom, MTN, Shoprite Group, Uber and Takealot. It also services payment services providers, distributors, etc.
The company will use the newly acquired funds to increase its product offering and continue to narrow the country’s financial inclusion gap. Apart from this, the company is also looking at exploring and venturing into other parts of Africa and has countries like Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and Namibia, in its short term expansion plans. By short term, the company means a period of six months. The company plans to fuel this expansion in any way it can such as strategic investments, partnerships, mergers and acquisitions, etc., as long as it helps with venturing into the aforementioned countries within the time frame it has in mind.
Explaining its goal of driving financial inclusion and creating payment options that are easy to use, Ozow’s CEO, Thomas Pays, said that “when you looked at e-commerce, point of sale, e-billing, or P2P payment seven years ago, it was always a fragmented market. For example, if I want a point-of-sale device, I need to go to a company like Yoco. If I want to accept payments via card on my e-commerce site, I need to go to a PayU. What we wanted to address was a central platform that could basically provide solutions for e-commerce, point of sale, e-billing, and peer to peer payment”.
With how Ozow works, all merchants need to have to tap into its tempting features are a smart device and a bank account to receive payments. That’s all!
“It’s an honour to bring on board Tencent, Endeavor Catalyst, and Endeavor Harvest Fund. This is a validation of our role in transforming the banking industry through the development of innovative, convenient, and more inclusive payment solutions for everyone”, Ozow’s CEO and Founder Thomas Pays said.