MAVIANCE, a Cameroon-based fintech, says it has secured a $3 million investment its Seed from the pan-African digital payments hub MFS Africa, which comes on board as a strategic investor. Maviance will be using the new funding to increase its footprint in its Cameroon and to expand into other countries in the central African economic region (CEMAC).
Maviance chose MFS Africa as an investor to leverage on its pan-African infrastructure and its vast product offering and partnerships to deliver new digital financial products in the CEMAC region.
In Cameroon, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) employ more than 90 percent of the workforce and contribute around 36 percent of GDP. However, many MSMEs lack access to digital financial services to grow their businesses. Maviance, which serves more than 500,000 unique customers a month, has connected key service providers, payment providers, financial institutions and mobile money operators to its Smobilpay digital financial services platform. Smobilpay’s digital financial services help businesses improve their sales by encouraging their customers to move away from cash-based transactions to digital.
Smobilpay empowers underserved MSMEs, agents, banks and financial institutions’ customers within the CEMAC region with more accessible digital financial services solutions. Maviance’s growing network of agents and MSME partners offer their customers a wide array of digital financial services.
In a statement Jerry Cheambe, the founder of Maviance, who led the negotiations for Maviance, said: ‘We are very excited about Maviance’s product pipeline and expansion. The opportunities within central Africa are huge, and the demand has been massively accelerated in the last 12 months with the advent of Covid-19 as businesses of all sizes adopt digital financial services. Moreover, the shift in the mindset of regulators towards progressive regulations as well as regulatory alignment, enable us to deliver seamless services across multiple geographies and customer segments.’
MFS Africa’s founder and CEO, Dare Okoudjou, who led the deal said: ‘The rapid development of digital financial services that we have seen in Cameroon over the past few years is poised to spread across the CEMAC region. This will further accelerate the demand for domestic and cross-border payment from MSMEs, social enterprises and corporates in the region. Maviance, as a key infrastructure provider with its set of highly relevant products, is well-positioned to benefit from this growing demand. That is why we are thrilled to be partnering with the company, as we continue to broaden and deepen the reach of the MFS Africa Hub across Africa.’
Nkwenti Azong-Wara, CEO of Maviance, added: ‘With MFS Africa, Maviance has gained not just a funding partner, but more importantly a strategic investor who will provide valuable impetus to enable us to extend our service portfolio and network as well as to expand into the other five countries within the CEMAC region, via the GIMACPAY switch.’
Following the outbreak of Covid-19, Maviance has experienced increasing demand from businesses to digitise their payment processes and transition away from cash. The joint forces of Maviance and MFS Africa will open up opportunities for MSMEs to easily digitise their processes, enabling them to benefit from the ecosystem of mobile money providers and other financial institutions providing seamless payment for services irrespective of channel.
After founding Maviance in Germany four years earlier, Jerry Cheambe and Michael Flach co-founded and launched Maviance Cameroon in 2012. As one of the pioneer bill aggregators in the Cameroonian market where digital financial services were new and queuing to pay your bills was not only the norm but, in some cases, part-time jobs for some, the major service providers were reluctant to enter into partnerships. Maviance persisted while staying true to its vision for almost three years before finally landing its first major contract with the national electricity provider. Following this, other service providers and financial institutions quickly followed suit to join its platform.
Since then, Maviance has rapidly expanded its service offerings to include, amongst others, payment aggregation, mobile money integration, corporate payments and collections, as well as agent banking. It currently serves over 500,000 unique customers every month.