REDWOOD CITY, Calif. and BOSTON, Feb. 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Omidyar Network and ACCION International announced today that they have invested US $3.2 million in Mobile Transactions International, a Zambia-based company that leverages mobile technology and an agent network to enable financial transactions across the Zambian economy. The $4 million investment round also includes $500,000 in converted debt funding from Mennonite Economic Development Associates.
With a proprietary technology platform and countrywide agent network, Mobile Transactions makes transacting easy, quick and safe by replacing cash with electronic currency. The investment from Omidyar Network and ACCION, the first venture capital deal in a Zambian start-up technology company, will enable Mobile Transactions to develop its leadership team, agent network, and technology platform to provide financial access to underserved organizations and base-of-the-pyramid consumers in Zambia and in new markets.
“Omidyar Network believes that Mobile Transactions demonstrates the potential of a ‘cashless Africa’ to transform the way people and organizations transact in emerging markets,” said Arjuna Costa, Director of Investments at Omidyar Network. “We are proud to support entrepreneurs who have demonstrated a tireless commitment to building a model and products from the ground up that can scale across borders and have a pan-African footprint.”
As part of the transaction, both Costa and Monica Brand, fund manager for ACCION’s Frontier Investments Group, will join Mobile Transactions’ Board of Directors.
Frontier Investments, an early stage equity fund that invests in breakthrough models that can radically enhance financial service delivery to the unbanked, has supported Mobile Transactions prior to this investment with bridge financing as well as strategic support in market expansion. Frontier Investments acts as a hands-on equity partner, leveraging its specialized domain expertise and ACCION’s five decades of experience in emerging markets.
“We are thrilled to have the support of Omidyar Network and ACCION, investors that bring deep expertise in technology and mobile platforms, financial inclusion, and scaling companies in emerging markets,” said Mike Quinn, CEO of Mobile Transactions. “Omidyar Network and ACCION share a commitment to our mission and are ideal partners to help us reach our goal to become a pan-African mobile payments business.”
Monica Brand of Frontier Investments said, “Mobile Transactions combines state of the art payment technology with an entrepreneurial agent network tailored to the local market. From the cotton farmer in rural regions to the small shop in Zambia’s urban centers, Mobile Transactions is expanding financial inclusion and integrating the unbanked into the broader economy.”
About Omidyar Network
Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm dedicated to harnessing the power of markets to create opportunity for people to improve their lives. Established in 2004 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam, the organization invests in and helps scale innovative organizations to catalyze economic and social change. To date, Omidyar Network has committed more than $490 million to for-profit companies and non-profit organizations that foster economic advancement and encourage individual participation across multiple investment areas, including microfinance, property rights, consumer internet, mobile and government transparency. To learn more, visit www.omidyar.com.
ACCION is a private, nonprofit organization with the mission of building a financially inclusive world by giving people the financial tools they need to improve their lives. A world pioneer in microfinance, ACCION was founded as a community development organization in 1961 and issued its first microloan in 1973 in Brazil. Over time, ACCION has helped to build 62 microfinance institutions in 31 countries on four continents. Those institutions are currently reaching millions of clients. In the United States, the U.S. ACCION Network is the largest microfinance lending network in the country and has served tens of thousands of clients, with over $300 million in loans. For more information, visit www.accion.org.
About Mobile Transactions International
Mobile Transactions is helping to create a Cashless Africa, where organizations from all sectors can transact electronically with unbanked and unconnected end-users. Backed by a proprietary technology and innovative agent network on the ground, Mobile Transactions makes transacting in Africa easy, quick, and safe. The company’s core products include Money Transfers, Electronic Voucher Payments, and Agent Payments for consumers, non-governmental organizations, government agencies, and commercial enterprises. For more information, visit http://www.mtzl.net.
SOURCE Omidyar Network and ACCION International