Interswitch has announced the launch of a new $10 million ‘ePayment Growth Fund’.
The fund is intended to serve as a catalyst for funding innovation and disruptive business concepts within the payment industry across Africa. Interswitch is seeking to collaborate with African entrepreneurs and start-up businesses developing innovative products and services that empower Africans to participate in the emerging payment ecosystems currently transforming business on the continent.
The fund has made its first investment in ‘Africa Courier Express’ (ACE), formerly A-Post, a Nigeria-based and Africa-focused technology driven e-commerce logistics and warehousing firm. ACE has developed and rolled out a new cutting-edge technology to track, deliver and collect payments seamlessly for and on-behalf of its clients.
The company will receive an initial investment of $850,000 from the Interswitch ePayment Growth Fund to enable management execute its West Africa expansion plans with the potential to access additional funding. The investment by Interswitch represents the start of a new partnership model to deepen the e-commerce space across Africa.
Launched in November 2013 by Tunde Kehinde and Ercin Eksin, ACE currently provides reliable third-party logistics, tracking and pay-on-delivery (cash and electronic) services for retail businesses in Nigeria.
Since launch, ACE has established physical presence in 5 cities across Nigeria, has shipped to almost 100,000 customers, and is currently one of Nigeria’s largest e-commerce logistics management companies.
With distribution hubs in major cities across Nigeria (Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Ibadan and Abeokuta), the company is currently supporting a number of blue chip clients and is experiencing growing demand for its services across several sectors.
Mitchell Elegbe, Group Managing Director, Interswitch,in a press statement said: “Interswitch is committed to encouraging innovative ideas and developing start-ups across Africa. We created the US$10 million e-payment growth fund to do just that, and it is with great excitement that today we can announce our first investment. ACE is exactly the sort of business we want to support: dynamic, energetic and dedicated to breaking barriers for e-commerce in the African market.”
Tunde Kehinde and Ercin Eksin, Founders, ACE, were quoted as saying: “We are delighted and very proud to be selected as the first investment from the Interswitch ePayment Growth Fund. This new capital provided through our new partnership with Interswitch, and which is part of a larger US$2.6 million funding, will enable us to accelerate our expansion through Nigeria and beyond into West Africa.”