AfricInvest backs Orange deal

AfricInvest has led an early-stage investment to back Africa-focused financial services technology company that offers a payment processing platform that has been part of an Orange France incubation platform.

Seedstars International Ventures and France-based venture capital firm Adelie are is also investing in the deal.

The investors have backed an approximately $8.2 million (€8 million) series-A funding round in Bizao, structured as a mixture of debt and equity.

AfricInvest is structuring the deal through the Financial Inclusion Vehicle (FIVE), which is targeting approximately $239.5 million (€200 million) at final close. The vehicle is structured as an evergreen investment fund.

Seedstars is structuring the deal through Seedstars Africa Ventures, which is targeting $100 million at final close.

Adelie was created in 2019 to back early-stage technology deals globally. The investor primarily series-A and series-B deals across Europe.

Bizao has been part of the Orange incubator platform since 2017.

Bizao will use the new capital for geographical expansion, with the company looking to grow its footprint regionally, across North Africa.

Part of the new capital will also be used for capacity expansion, with the company looking to increase its number of employees. The company employs 60 people as of 2022.

Bizao will also use part of the funds for product development. The company is working on plans to expand its product offering to include bulk payments, money transfers, and distribution of digital content platforms.

The company is being backed on growth prospects, with payment firms not being interconnected in Africa, according to AfricInvest.

Bizao is also being backed based on market positioning, with the company accelerating mobile payment in a highly fragmented market, according to AfricInvest.

The company is also being backed based track record. Bizao has developed an aggregating platform connecting over 200 million mobile subscribers and also signed partnerships with 30 mobile network operators, mobile money operators, and banks.

Through collaboration with industry players, Bizao multiplied the transaction volumes processed by the platform by almost 20 over the past 12 months, according to the portfolio company.

“Unlike in other markets, payment institutions are not interconnected in Africa, and building partnerships and integrations with Bizao is essential, especially for the small and medium-sized enterprises as well as the unbanked and underbanked. We believe that Bizao is accelerating mobile payment in this highly fragmented market, and we see our partnership as an ambitious mission to boost a more inclusive African economy,” said Sinda Zakraoui Chiboub, senior manager at AfricInvest.

Omar Bekkali, partner at AfricInvest, represented the AfricInvest.

Jean-Manuel Costa is founder and managing partner at Adelie.

Tamim El Zein, managing partner at Seedstars.

Headquartered in Paris, France Bizao is a software company that offers a payment processing platform to corporate clients across Africa.

The company’s platform enables clients to accept online payments via mobile money, credit cards and electronic payment terminals.

Bizao has signed over 30 partnerships with telecom operators, banks, and mobile money operators in Africa since inception.

The company has 100 corporate clients covering 200 million end-customers. The company’s platform processes 350 million requests per month. Bizao operates across Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Cameroon, and Tunisia.

Created in 2019, Bizao is headed by founder and chief executive officer Aurélien Duval-Delort and employs 60 people as of 2022.

Cilpperton acted as financial advisors to Bizao on this transaction.

Kramer Levin provided legal advisory services to Bizao on this deal.

Asafo & Co acted as legal advisors to AfricInvest, Adelie and SeedStars on this deal.

Mazars acted as financial advisors to AfricInvest, Adelie and SeedStars on this transaction.

Onepoint acted as commercial advisors to AfricInvest, Adelie and SeedStars on this deal.