London based Finafrik acquires minority stake in Cameroonian fintech Maviance

CAMEROON – Finafrik Ltd, a private company based in London that specializes in the development of commercial software, has become a shareholder of Maviance PLC, a Cameroonian fintech that controls the digital payments platform Smobilpay.

Maviance’s capital has increased to 1.15 billion FCFA (US$1.9m) as a result of this activity which is an increase of just over 140 million FCFA. Finafrik currently owns 12.2 percent of the company’s capital, thanks to the latest investment.

According to its promoters, ‘Maviance serves more than 500,000 unique customers per month’ and connects key service providers, payment service providers, financial institutions and mobile money operators to its digital financial services platform.

In May 2021, Maviance raised US$3 million (€2.5 million) in equity financing from MFS Africa, the cross-border fintech company connecting mobile money providers like MTN to banks like Ecobank across over 34 countries in Africa.

The MFS Africa’s investment gave it an undisclosed minority stake in Maviance.

Maviance’s flagship product is Smobilpay, a platform that integrates payments solutions from banks, mobile money operators and telecoms operators. Smobilpay is connected to GIMAC, the interoperability switch of the Bank of Central African States (BEAC) – the central bank of the Central African region.

Because it is a business-to-business company, Smobilpay may not be familiar with consumers. But the platform serves over 500,000 unique customers a month, according to the company.

Jerry Cheambe, Maviance founder, believes the pandemic has helped increase business owners’ appetite for digitising 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%.

Maviance was founded in Germany in 2008 by Jerry Cheambe and Michael Flach. They launched Maviance Cameroon in 2012, at a time when mobile money looked unlikely in the country.

Ten years later, the landscape has improved enough for Maviance to be raising a large seed round.

95% of Maviance Cameroon’s 20-person staff are based in Cameroon. Cheambe is based in Germany where he oversees Maviance Germany, which operates independently of the Cameroonian venture.

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