Maviance, a Cameroon-based fintech company offering digital financial services like agency banking and bulk bill payments has secured $3million (€2.5 million) in equity financing from MFS Africa.
This investment which came solely from MFS Africa, a cross-border fintech company connecting mobile money providers to banks across 34 African countries, will see it hold an undisclosed minority stake in Maviance.
Maviance intends to use this seed funding to expand Smobilpay’s national footprint in Cameroon to serve more consumers and to establish its presence in Gabon and the Republic of Congo. Maviance also plans to build new products but they won’t roll them out into the market just yet.
The company was founded in Germany in 2008 by Jerry Cheambe and Michael Flach, together they came back to Cameroon in 2012 and launched Maviance Cameroon, at a time when mobile money looked unlikely in the country.
Smobilpay is Maviance’s flagship product, and it’s a platform that integrates payments solutions from banks, mobile money operators, and telecoms operators. The platform is also connected to GIMAC, the interoperability switch of the Bank of Central African States (BEAC) – the central bank of the Central African region.
The Smobilpay platform may not be quite popular amongst customers because it’s a B2B company. However, the company claims the platform serves over 500,000 unique customers a month.
The founder of Maviance, Jerry Cheambe believes the pandemic has helped increase business owners’ appetite for digitizing payments. Cameroon is a country of 26.88 million people. Mobile connections increased by 11% to 26.6 million between January 2020 and January 2021 while internet penetration is at 34%. Speaking on the company’s planned expansion to other African countries, Cheambe says:
“Our journey now is to become a regional company, providing cross-border services within the CEMAC region. We want to be a catalyst for interoperability.”
He also explained that the deal took over 12months to seal, from contact to close. And why Maviance chose to go with MFS Africa was because they bring money, industry knowledge, a product suite, and a pan-African network of fintech and businesses of various sizes to the table.
The main attraction for both companies is to partner and build digital financial services in the Central African economic region’s 6 countries: Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Chad, and Cameroon.