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South African digital bank, TymeBank, raises $109 million

TymeBank, the South African digital bank owned by African Rainbow Capital (ARC) has announced a $109 million fund raise from investors. It is one of the largest raises by a digital bank on the continent and comes a few months after Nigeria’s Kuda bank raised $10 million from investors. 

The startup’s new investors are Apis Growth Fund II, a private equity fund managed by Apis Partners, and JG Summit Holdings, one of the largest conglomerates in the Philippines. TymeBank said in a statement, “Both these investors are experienced in financial services in emerging markets. Apis is a private equity asset manager that supports growth stage financial services and financial infrastructure businesses.”

At the moment, the digital bank has 2.8 million customers and expects to hit the 3 million customer mark by the end of March 2021. It reportedly onboards a little over 100,000 customers every month. Without knowing the number of customers banks like Rubies and Kuda have, TymeBank may be Africa’s fastest growing digital bank. 

TymeBank’s model looks a bit like Kuda’s with its leading propositions being zero transfer fees as well as an absence of the other banking fees associated with traditional banks. It will augment this free strategy by going into other aspects of retail banking like insurance and lending. 

Already, the bank had plans to offer unsecured loans to customers last year but the global COVID-19 pandemic put those plans on hold. Early this week, it launched MoreTyme with two partners, Pick n Pay and NWJ.

MoreTyme is a consumer financing product which allows customers to find items they want to buy and settle that payment with a MoreTyme voucher. The customer then makes payments over a duration of 30-60 days. 

Its new funding will enable the bank to expand into even more areas and increase its revenue. Of the $109 million in new investments, TymeBank has already received $34 million while the rest of the $75 million will be released over the next 12-15 months. 

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