Nigerian payments company TechAdvance raises US$1-million


Nigerian payment application development company TechAdvance has secured US$1-million in funding to support its FinTech ambitions and expansion into emerging markets.

Founded in 2009, TechAdvance develops and deploys niche payment apps to serve the needs of large public and private sector organisations in Nigeria, overseeing subsidiaries such as GPay Africa, PayElectricityBills, Advance BancCorp Digital MicroFinance Bank and others.

The company has been bootstrapped to date, but has now raised a US$1-million round from Bahrain-based investment holding company Lamar Holding, at a valuation of US$$20-million.

This will be used to support its business transformation and expansion in emerging markets.

TechAdvance is transforming its model and aims to shift from being a technology Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) provider to a key player in the digital financial services and payment infrastructure space.

The company, through its subsidiaries, recently acquired a microfinance bank and obtained an approval in principle for a Payment Solution Service Provider (PSSP) license from the Central Bank of Nigeria.

It has also received the same approval from the Central Bank of Bahrain, signaling its intentions to grow beyond Nigeria and Africa.

TechAdvance founder and chief executive officer Edmund Olotu said: "The payments space in emerging markets abounds with opportunities yet faces a lot of challenges, especially regarding personal finance, accessing loans, maximising savings, and financial education for the unbanked and last-mile users. These funds will allow us to shift our focus to these opportunities -especially the launch of our digital bank, without compromising our existing business lines."

Lamar Holding, an established developer and long-term operator of projects across Saudi Arabia's national energy infrastructure network, sees the investment as a means to deepen its foray into the global tech industry and secure a foothold in Africa.

The company's vice president Hani Abdulhadi said, "This is an opportunity for Lamar and TechAdvance to collaborate and distribute its expansive suite of digital solutions to emerging markets in Africa and the Middle East. We were seed investors in one of TechAdvance portfolio companies since 2011, and it is impressive what Edmund and the team has been able to achieve since then."