UK based private equity fund, Apis Partners LLP has acquired a substantial but undisclosed stake in Direct Pay Online Group (DPO), formerly known as 3G Direct Pay.
“I am not going to disclose the value of the investment because I believe that is a proprietary right of parties in this deal,” Apis Partner co-founder and managing partner, Matteo Stefanel told journalists when the deal was announced.
Matteo said the investment in the DPO Group is a strong representation of Apis’ strategy of investing in well-managed businesses operating in high-growth sectors and providing quality services to African consumers.
“The shift of consumers from physical to digital channels is one of the most significant trends in our markets, and we believe online payments are at the centre of these developments,” said Matteo.
Udayan Goyal, Apis co-founder and managing partner added that “DPO Group, with its business model, technology platform, talented team, fraud prevention systems and an track record of conversion and customer management, is an ideal investment for Apis Growth Fund I. We are looking forward to working with the team to serve more merchants and improve the online shopping experiences of consumers in Africa.”
The investment in DPO Group is part of Apis Growth Fund I, a a US$250 million fund managed targeting 12 deals in the financial services deals in Africa and Asia.
The DPO Group launched operations in 2006 starting with Kenya, and has now expanded to Zambia, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania, including Zanzibar.
The Group serves over 5,000 merchants in the region, including over 40 airlines, hundreds of hotels, and thousands of travel agents and tour operators with monthly transactions averaging 400,000-500,000 in East Africa.
The broad client base has established the DPO Group as the largest player in online payments in East Africa. The Group processes payments from all major credit cards, mobile money and e-wallets, and is the only Payment Service Provider in East Africa holding PCI DSS Level 1 Certification, the highest security certification in the payment cards industry.
By 2020, smart-phone penetration across the African continent is expected to grow three-fold to over 540 million handsets. This increase, combined with improved access to 3G networks and reduced data costs, is expected to spur strong growth in online and mobile commerce. The DPO Group aims to assist both entrepreneurs and enterprises in accessing these new customers by providing a seamless and scalable payment solution for all online and mobile payments regardless of geography, payment type or platform. The investment by Apis Growth Fund I will ensure that the DPO Group continues to lead the market in providing bespoke solutions to both existing and new clients.
“Since it was founded, the DPO Group has sought to empower African businesses to efficiently sell their products online and receive payment through a wide variety of methods.” said Eran Feinstein, the Group CEO.
“The investment by Apis Growth Fund I validates the strength of our platform and supports our vision of building the leading pan-African payments processor. We aim to expand our local presence to more than 10 countries across East, West, and Southern Africa over the next year, and to offer merchant acquiring abilities in 25 countries across the whole continent.”
Offer Gat, the Group Chairman said Apis has deep expertise in emerging markets and a track record of partnering with entrepreneurs, which will be crucial in executing our high growth strategic expansion plan for the coming years.