The International Finance Corporation is investing up to Sh619 million ($6 million) in mobile tech firm Africa’s Talking, with the funds earmarked for the company’s expansion in Africa.
In a disclosure, the IFC said it would also use its relationships and knowledge of the continent to help Africa’s Talking as it moves beyond the current seven markets where it has a presence.
“What we are looking for is to continue expansion into Africa and to expand our product offering,” Africa’s Talking chief operating officer, Bilha Ndirangu, told the Business Daily.
Ms Ndirangu did not reveal the stake that IFC would acquire in Africa’s Talking, saying that this was still under negotiation.
The company, which is headquartered in Nairobi, also operates in Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi, Nigeria and Ethiopia.
Africa’s Talking’s other shareholders include Samuel Gikandi, Eston Kimani, Bilha Ndirangu, and the California-based seed investor Better Ventures.
Founded in 2010, Africa’s Talking provides platform for businesses and developers who want to integrate mobile communication and payment services to their applications.
A business that wants to send bulk SMS to customers, provide services via USSD or set up a mobile payment system for clients can use Africa’s Talking platform. The company also provides Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) and cloud-based call conferencing services.
Its business model makes it cheaper for entrepreneurs to integrate these services into their business offerings by eliminating the need to invest heavily in in-house technological solutions.
IFC writes that the company’s services can “profitably serve both the “one-man” shop and larger customers simultaneously.
The World Bank’s private lending arm argues that the company’s expansion within the continent will provide an opportunity for other start-ups to grow and “target new markets”.
Earlier this year, the company struck a deal with 9mobile, a telecom operator with a 14 per cent market share in Nigeria, to provide software developers access to its platform in one of Africa’s largest telecom market.