PE Fund Apis Partners backs East African online payments processor

September 23, 2016

Apis Partners, a private equity asset manager focused on financial services in the growth markets of Africa and Asia, has invested in the Direct Pay Online Group (DPO Group), an online payments processor in East Africa.

The transaction was structured via Apis Growth Fund I, which provides equity financing to companies active at all levels of the financial services sector.

Matteo Stefanel, Apis Co-Founder and Managing Partner, said: “The investment in the DPO Group is a strong representation of Apis’ strategy of investing in well-managed businesses operating in high-growth sectors and providing quality services to African consumers.”

“The shift of consumers from physical to digital channels is one of the most significant trends in our markets, and we believe online payments are at the center of these developments,” he said.

The DPO Group, formerly known as 3G Directly Pay, was established in 2006 starting with Kenya, and has now expanded to Zambia, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania.

The investment by Apis supports the Group’s vision of building the leading pan-African payments processor.

Eran Feinstein, the DPO Group CEO, said: “We aim to expand into over 10 countries across East, West, and Southern Africa over the next year, and to offer payment options across the whole of the African continent.”

By 2020, smart-phone penetration across the African continent is expected to grow three-fold to over 540 million handsets.

This increase, combined with improved access to 3G networks and reduced data costs, is expected to spur strong growth in online and mobile commerce.

The DPO Group aims to assist both entrepreneurs and enterprises in accessing these new customers by providing a seamless and scalable payment solution for all online and mobile payments regardless of geography, payment type or platform.

The investment by Apis will ensure that the DPO Group continues to lead the market in providing bespoke solutions to both existing and new clients.

The Group serves over 5,000 clients in the region, including over 40 airlines, hundreds of hotels, and thousands of travel agents and tour operators.

This broad client base has established the DPO Group as the largest player in online payments in East Africa.

The Group processes payments from all major credit cards, mobile money and e-wallets, and is the only Payment Service Provider in East Africa holding PCI DSS Level 1 Certification, the highest security certification in the payment cards industry.

“We plan to revolutionize the payments arena in Africa by giving freedom to everyone to pay and be paid online anywhere, anytime, and by any mode of payment. Apis has deep expertise in emerging markets and a track record of partnering with entrepreneurs, which will be crucial in executing our high growth strategic expansion plan for the coming years,” Feinstein said. Source: Africa Global Funds