BY TOM JACKSON
South African fintech startup Zoona has sold its Malawian operational assets to global money transfer group Mukuru as it scales down its over-the-counter money transfer business to focus on B2B.
Operating in Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia, Zoona provides financial services through its mobile money platform, and offers emerging entrepreneurs an opportunity to provide money transfers and financial services to low-income consumers through its network of over mobile money agents.
The company, which has raised millions of dollars in funding across multiple rounds, has, however, sold its operational assets and the technology systems that support its operations in Malawi to Mukuru, an international money operator and remittance company. Zoona has worked with Mukuru for four years as a partner.
The decision to sell its assets in Malawi comes as Zoona scales down its OTC money transfer business, which has hit some roadblocks. The company is pivoting to focus on its B2B payments software, and exiting the in-person distribution business. The sale provides Zoona with significant runway to prove that B2B product on a standalone basis.
Mukuru, meanwhile, says it can better leverage Zoona’s OTC business.
“Mukuru empowers Africa’s financially underserved migrant workers to be included in the formal financial ecosystem and to move money in a convenient, safe and affordable way,” said Andy Jury, Mukuru’s chief executive officer (CEO).
“This acquisition will bring the benefits of our extensive products and cutting-edge technology to the citizens of Malawi – giving them better options and safe mechanisms to send money to loved ones and ultimately uplift their communities.”
Following the acquisition, Zoona Malawi’s agents will operate as Mukuru agents, with a wider product range to offer customers. In addition, agents will benefit from being part of the SADC regional network, increasing their regional exposure and potentially boosting earnings over time.