TPG’s $47.5 million investment in Cellulant wins VC Deal of the Year award

A $47.5 million investment made last year into Cellulant by the Rise Fund, an impact investing fund managed by TPG Growth, has been selected as the Venture Capital Deal of the Year at the eight edition of the Private Equity Africa (PEA).

The award, collected by Yemi Lalude, the Managing Partner for Africa at TPG, were presented at the awards gala dinner on October 9, 2019 in London.

The PEA winners were chosen by a panel of industry professionals which included representation from CDC, FMO, Wimmer Family Office, Mbuyu Capital Partners, Avanz Capital, 27four Investment Managers, IFC and Cebile Capital.

(TOP: The Cellulant co-founders sign the deal with The Rise Fund).

The 2019 PEA Awards received a strong number of self-entries based on 2018 achievements, which were complemented by editorial recommendations from the Private Equity Africa team and industry data.

The Rise Fund made its debut on the continent through the equity acquisition in Cellulant, a digital payments provider whose services are used by 40 million people across 11 African countries.

The Rise Fund invested as part of a consortium consisting of Endeavor Catalyst, Satya Capital, Velocity Capital & Progression Africa.

The Rise Fund deal in Cellulant was the largest of its kind dedicated solely to Africa’s fintech and payments space, competitively positioning Cellulant in a fast-growing sector where it already enjoys an early mover advantage.

“Across Africa, expanding easy-to-use and low-cost mobile banking offers immense potential for impact, and Cellulant is at the leading edge of that work,” said Bill McGlashan, CEO and co-founder of The Rise Fund while announcing the deal in late 2018. “We’re excited to invest in African entrepreneurs like Ken and Bolaji to help them grow their businesses and expand their impact on society. Cellulant is a perfect partner for The Rise Fund’s first investment in Africa.”

Cellulant’s digital payments platform delivers connected, flexible payment options for consumers and businesses, and works with financial institutions, governments and mobile network operators to increase transparency and expand their reach in Africa. Building on a business model that first debuted in Kenya and Nigeria in 2004, the company has since expanded its services across 11 African markets, including: Zambia, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Uganda, Botswana, Mozambique, Malawi, and Liberia.

After the $47.5 million investment, the Rise Fund, Satya Capital and Endeavor Catalyst joined Cellulant’s other existing shareholders – Velocity Capital Private Equity, Progression Capital Africa Limited and TBL Mirror Fund – while representatives from The Rise Fund also joined Cellulant’s board.

This investment was meant to help scale existing Cellulant products, including Agrikore – a mobile blockchain-based platform that has served more than 7 million farmers across the continent, better connecting them to the market and helping them sell their goods to a diverse range of buyers more easily. It also expands access to government subsidy programs to help reduce costs for farmers, increase their yields, and raise incomes.

The Rise Fund is managed by TPG Growth, the global growth equity and middle market buyout platform of alternative asset firm TPG. TPG Growth Founder and Managing Partner Bill McGlashan, U2 lead singer Bono, an activist and a special partner with TPG Growth, and Jeff Skoll, a global entrepreneur, film producer, and impact investor, co-founded The Rise Fund.

TPG Growth is the middle market and growth equity investment platform of TPG. With more than $13 billion of assets under management, TPG Growth has invested in a broad range of industries and geographies, including: Gro Intelligence, a global agricultural data business; Frontier Car Group, which supports Nigeria’s second-car sales business; and Ecoles Yassamine, a Moroccan private school network.


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