London and Johannesburg, 07 December 2022 – Ukheshe International, the UK-headquartered division of leading digital-first, Banking as a Service (“BAAS”) enabler Ukheshe Group (“Ukheshe”), today announced the conclusion of an investment agreement that will help accelerate its international expansion. The investment will be led by ADP III, a fund advised by Development Partners International (“DPI”), a premier, Africa-focused investment firm with $3bn in assets under management and co-investment, alongside funds advised by Fireball Capital, a leading South African venture capital firm. The deal, which is subject to customary closing conditions, reinforces Ukheshe’s strategy and will support its long-term growth as the business continues to drive forward its acquisitive expansion plans.
Founded by four founders in 2018, Ukheshe was established to drive financial inclusion across Africa and beyond, by creating new ways for businesses to develop and grow their financial services offerings. Since its founding, Ukheshe has scaled rapidly, and today serves over 100 customers across different sectors, including banks, fintechs, mobile network operators, and other small and medium-sized businesses. Ukheshe also continues to expand its international footprint with operations in Mauritius, Kenya, and UAE.
The payments and fintech ecosystems in Africa are growing rapidly, however, the sector remains underdeveloped, with many communities still lacking access to critical financial products and services. Through its proprietary BAAS Eclipse API platform and innovative embedded finance solutions, Ukheshe is at the forefront of this fintech evolution.
As innovation continues to disrupt established players and drive growth in emerging markets, there are opportunities for software innovators like Ukheshe to pioneer solutions to critical problems, provide value for customers, and support communities in markets where technology has the power to make the biggest impact. Ukheshe is well placed to continue responding to evolving customer demands by implementing cutting-edge technologies to enable the delivery of seamless fintech solutions.
Clayton Hayward, Ukheshe Founder, and CEO said: “Ukheshe’s mission is to transform the lives of individuals by facilitating access to critical financial products and services that support the growth and prosperity of communities globally. We have made great progress in recent years, growing our footprint, and expanding our reach across Africa.
As we continue to grow, we look forward to partnering with DPI, who as a leading Africa-focused investor, brings international market knowledge and experience in investing and creating value across the continent. Combined with the deep local market understanding of Fireball Capital, that has a track record of seizing opportunities in the fintech space, we are excited about Ukheshe’s future. As we look for new ways to build on our success, we will work together to accelerate our international strategy and reach more customers across the region.”
The planned investment from DPI and Fireball Capital will enable Ukheshe to continue progressing its international ambitions. Ukheshe is well positioned to expand its footprint, entering complementary markets which are facing the same complex challenges that exist in Ukheshe’s core markets.
In addition to capital, DPI will look to support Ukheshe to further institutionalize the business, achieve its ambitious organic and inorganic growth plans, create quality employment opportunities, and support the financial inclusion of emerging markets. DPI’s experience in scaling industry focused platforms across multiple jurisdictions will support Ukheshe in achieving its strategic ambitions.
James Griffiths, Managing Director at DPI commented: “Ukheshe is at the forefront of innovation in payments and fintech, expanding financial inclusion and increasing access to affordable digital banking and payments services to customers across Africa. The business has scaled rapidly since 2018, building a strong runway for future growth as it looks to seize opportunities internationally and deploy its portfolio of solutions into diverse markets. We are excited to bring our experience in the sector and extensive market knowledge to the table, working closely with Clayton and his dynamic management team to help them realise their ambitions.”
Paula Mokwena, CEO at Fireball said: “Ukheshe is not only an innovative, high-growth company with a great management team, but it is also playing a critical role in broadening affordable access to financial services to the underserved, underbanked and unbanked populations in Africa. Our planned investment in Ukheshe is in line with our investment mandate of giving South African institutional investors access to the best technology-enabled businesses that are solving real-world problems, particularly in the financial services, education, and healthcare sectors. We look forward to partnering with the Ukheshe management team and DPI in the next growth phase of the business.”
Royal Park Partners acted as exclusive financial advisor to Ukheshe and its shareholders throughout the transaction.