LeapFrog and Tana invest in Interswitch

Image courtesy of Interswitch

LeapFrog Investments and Tana Africa Capital have announced a strategic investment in Interswitch, a technology-driven company focused on the digitization of payments. The investment will assist in supporting the company’s drive to advance the payment ecosystem across the continent. A portion of the investment has been acquired from existing shareholders, with Ignite Holdco Limited, made up of Helios Investment Partners and TA Associates, remaining the largest shareholder in the business following the transaction.

Founded in 2002 by entrepreneur Mitchell Elegbe, Interswitch disrupted Nigeria’s traditional cash-driven payments system, introducing electronic payments processing and switching services to the market. Today Interswitch operates two flagship brands, Verve, a debit card scheme operating across Africa, and Quickteller, a popular multichannel consumer and business payments platform.

Interswitch’s last funding round was in 2019 when VISA acquired a 20% stake, valued at $200 million, and helped it become Africa’s second unicorn. Even then, its products: Verve and Quickteller, were already selling in 23 African countries and had a physical presence in Gambia, Uganda and Kenya. Today, at a $1 billion valuation, Interswitch is touted as one of Africa’s biggest electronic payments and infrastructure companies.

Interswitch is committed to being a responsible business, focused on employee wellness and talent development with 948 full-time employees across Africa. Interswitch also maintains an inclusive culture and is gender-balanced across the business, with women making up approximately 40% of employees across Africa, and 38% of the management team.

Karima Ola, Partner, Head of Africa Financial Services, LeapFrog Investments said: “Interswitch, a pioneer in the African payments ecosystem, has been disrupting the cash economy, driving digital payments, and promoting equitable financial inclusion in Nigeria for two decades. This investment by LeapFrog affirms the formidable talent at Interswitch, and how well-placed it is to seize the significant opportunity in Africa’s evolving digital payments landscape. LeapFrog is proud to be partnering with Interswitch to further enhance their innovative, digital capabilities to deliver sustainable scale, whilst positively impacting the lives of millions of people and businesses across the region.”

Mark Tindall, Managing Director, and CEO, Tana Africa said:“Interswitch has developed a strong position at the nexus of Nigeria’s payments ecosystem, underpinned by an offering which is primed for continued growth. The business’ evolution is a testament to management’s track record and tenacity. Alongside LeapFrog, we look forward to supporting Interswitch’s next chapter through continued product innovation and growth across the African continent.”

Mitchell Elegbe, Founder and Group Chief Executive of Interswitch said: “We are excited to welcome LeapFrog and Tana on board, as we continue our work to advance the future of the African payments landscape. The evolution of fintech in Nigeria and the broader sub-Saharan region has been driven by the need to solve challenges and barriers that exist within the traditional financial system. Interswitch was born from the need to develop solutions that match the unique needs of local customers and merchants.”

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