SA Fintech Mama Money Grows 500% During the Pandemic
Mama Money, a South African based money transfer company that enables individuals to send money to more than 50 countries using just your phone, saw growth of over 500% in volumes during 2020. It now has more than a million users who pay fees as low as 3% for international money transfers.
Founded in 2013 as a social impact business by Mathieu Coquillon and Raphael Grojnowski, the company was launched to drastically reduce remittance costs so that more money arrives in the pockets of the people who really need it. After growing by over 300% in 2019, Mama Money had to expand its team rapidly to keep up with the explosive growth.
“We’re incredibly grateful that 2020 was our best year yet. It’s terrible to see how tough the pandemic has been for so many people and businesses. We’re humbled and very lucky to have added over 70 permanent team members during this time,” said Coquillon.
“Lockdown restrictions spurred the adoption of digital money transfer services. While there is a large informal network for money transfers that operates predominantly in cash, services like Mama Money make it easier for people to transfer money from the safety of their homes, which became particularly appealing during lockdown.”
Mama Money started with money transfers from South Africa to Zimbabwe in 2015 and now sends to over 50 countries across Africa, Asia, and Europe, with more to come. The company has partnered with the world’s leading payment providers and money transfer operators which allows their customers to send money to Western Union, MTN Money, Airtel Money, and many more while still keeping costs low for their customers.
“We saw that people were paying ridiculous fees of up to 20% or more for sending money to their families for essential needs like school fees and medical bills. Many were handing cash to a driver to physically transport it across the border to their mama. It was a slow and unsafe process and sometimes the money would never arrive,” said Coquillon.
“There was a clear need for a safe, low-cost, and reliable way to send money across borders using mobile technology that makes sending money as easy as sending a WhatsApp message. It’s now possible with Mama Money’s mobile app.”
“A challenge is hiring the best talent to keep up with our growth. We focussed on fostering an inclusive company culture, though we still have a lot more opportunities for top talent to join us with many vacant roles that still need to be filled,” said Bentolina Nnadi, Mama Money’s Head of Talent.
Two years ago, the business employed just 30 staff and now Mama Money has close to 200 permanent staff and over 2,500 field agents operating across South Africa.
MortgageMarket Raises R10 Million to Help Fuel Expansion
“MortgageMarket is a customer-centric online platform that harnesses technology and customer service to allow users to compare home loan offers from SA’s top six banks within 48 hours.”
The startup was co-founded by CEO Tim Akinnusi, a former Nedbank home loans executive and former Absa home loans managing executive, in 2019.
According to the report, the funds will be used to help fuel its expansion in South Africa.
HAVAÍC Expects Bumper Year for African Tech Startups
As one of South Africa’s most active Venture Capital investors, HAVAÍC says 2020 saw the commercial adoption of technology increase at unprecedented rates, as illustrated by the performance of HAVAÍC and its portfolio companies. 2020 saw HAVAÍC’s portfolio companies grow their revenue by a staggering 93%, and in the coming months, Ian Lessem, Managing Partner at HAVAÍC, believes the economic, social and commercial prospects for investing in the African technology sector look promising, especially as the acceleration of technology adoption continues.
According to the recent African Tech Startups Funding Report 2020, published by Disrupt Africa, the year produced a record for funding activity in the African tech startup ecosystem, owing to the increased number of active investors on the continent that continued to grow in tandem with additional investment opportunities across more geographies in an increasing number of verticals.
In line with this, last year, the Cape Town-based early-stage, high-growth technology investor concluded eight investments in technology companies located in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria.
“It’s an exciting time for the continent’s startup and investor communities. Fintech, e-commerce and e-health show immense promise for further growth both in terms of funded ventures as well as for their local and international adoption and revenue growth,” notes Lessem.
He adds that African startups are reaching new heights in terms of broad global appeal. “With our portfolio servicing close to half a million clients in over 180 countries across the globe, and with the majority of our investments having successfully moved their Intellectual Property or operations into markets such as the US and UK, as well as achieving multiple international exits, HAVAÍC’s portfolio companies are well on track to fulfilling their international potential.”