By Sharon Lewis and Reethu Ravi This article is the first of a four-part Tech’s Year in Review series reviewing developments across industries in 2020. This first installation discusses some industries spotlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic, namely edtech, logistics and supply chains, fintech, [...]
B2B cross-border payments startup Thunes settles expansion focus on Africa, Asia and Latin America
In a bid to drive its global growth, Singapore-headquartered cross-border payments fintech Thunes has secured an investment of US$60 million in Series B funding, the company announced in a statement yesterday.
The round was led by Africa-focused private investment firm Helios Investment Partners, with participation from Thunes’ existing investors, Airbnb- and Alibaba-investor GGV Capital, and French payments and advisory firm Future Shape, as well as new investor Checkout.com, a London-based payments tech company, according to the statement.
The funding will be utilized to increase Thunes’ global network, focusing on expansion and growth in the emerging markets of Africa, Asia and Latin America, the statement noted. Specifically, the funding will be channeled towards expanding Thunes’ team and product offerings, it added.
Launched in 2016, Thunes is a global network for B2B cross-border payments. The company acts as an enabling partner for payment facilitators including wallet providers, banks, tech companies and money transfer operators.
Thunes helps these payment facilitators and service providers through solutions that span business payments, mass payouts, remittance processing and virtual invoice collection.
The company had previously raised $10 million in a Series A round of financing in 2019, led by GGV Capital. With the fresh injection of funds through its Series B, the startup’s total capital pool has been raised to $70 million, the statement noted.
“[The funding] marks a significant milestone in our next phase of growth as we strive towards helping financial institutions and businesses around the world move money between each other in a faster, more economical and reliable way,” Thunes CEO Peter De Caluwe said in the statement.
Apart from its Singapore headquarters, Thunes has offices in London, Shanghai, New York, Dubai, and Nairobi, provides its services across over 100 countries, and has accumulated over 400 global partners on its platform so far, the statement noted.
Noting that Thunes aims to bring affordability and accessibility to the financial services industry, and especially to emerging markets, De Caluwe noted in the statement that the company expects to double the transaction volume on its platform annually through expansion efforts.
Africa, Asia and LatAm represent opportunities of growth on account of a fragmented payment ecosystem that fails to offer effective channels of moving money, the statement noted.
Noting that the company’s network enabled cheaper and faster cross-border payments, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Helios Investment Partners Tope Lawani highlighted Thunes’ plans to “connect multiple payment ecosystems across often challenging markets in Africa and other emerging markets and thus, foster further financial inclusion.”
A PwC report highlights that apart from demographic trends such as a sizable millennial population in emerging markets such as Indonesia, the need for financial inclusion is a key driver of fintech innovation in emerging regions.
A survey finds, for instance, that nearly 70% of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Kenya used mobile payments for business as far back as 2011.
At the same time, however, institutionalized financial services are still catching up in some emerging economies. The percentage of adults in Africa, Southeast Asia, and parts of South Asia and LatAm, that have an account at a financial institution hovers well below the 69% global average.
The report by PwC subsequently points out that 89% of payment executives in emerging markets see a need for change in product development and go-to-market models.
It further highlights smartphone penetration and mobile wallets as a game-changer for financial inclusion, noting that mobile payments through Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPIs) are estimated to grow to $130 billion in transaction value by 2020, 12 times the volume in 2013.
Commenting on the playing field, De Caluwe noted in the statement that “the projected size of emerging markets cross-border payments is around US$45 trillion… For the five billion people and businesses in the growing emerging market economies, we enable cross-border payments seamlessly, faster, and at more competitive rates.”
Header image by Anna Shvets from Pexels