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TPG to acquire stake in Kenyan digital payments service Cellulant

U.S. private investment firm TPG Growth agreed to buy an unspecified stake in Kenyan digital payments firm Cellulant Ltd. via its impact investment arm The Rise Fund.

Cellulant said it raised $47.5 million in total through a series C funding round led by TPG and also involving Endeavor Catalyst, Satya Capital LLP, Velocity Capital BV and Progression Capital Africa Ltd. It noted that the deal was the largest of its kind involving an African financial technology firm.

Ken Njoroge, Cellulant co-founder and CEO, said the new capital would be used to grow existing operations and enter into new markets. Cellulant, which was created in Nigeria and Kenya in 2004, facilitates mobile payments, particularly for those without a bank account. The company now operates in 11 African markets, including in southern and western Africa.

Magister Advisors served advised Cellulant on the transaction, while Orrick and KPMG provided diligence and review to The Rise Fund.

The Rise Fund, Satya Capital and Endeavor Catalyst are first-time investors and join existing shareholders Velocity Capital, Progression Capital Africa and TBL Mirror Fund BV. Representatives from The Rise Fund will join Cellulant's board of directors.

Board members of The Rise Fund include musician Bono, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and Mo Ibrahim, a Sudanese tycoon active in attempts to bolster African governance, Reuters noted May 14.