Payments company Yoco raises US$83m Series C funding round to accelerate growth

SOUTH AFRICA – Payments and software startup Yoco has secured US$83 million in Series C funding to accelerate the development of its platform and expand internationally as demand grows among small businesses for its digital payments tools.

Yoco builds tools and services to help small businesses accept card payments in-store and online, access loans, and manage their day to day activities and in less than six years, the startup has become the preferred payments partner for over 150,000 small businesses across South Africa, processing more than US$1 billion in card payments per year. 

The start-up’s last funding round was a US$16 million Series B back in late 2018, and it has now secured its Series C, worth US$83 million.

The investment, which takes the total funds raised to date by Yoco to US$107 million, will enable the startup to accelerate the development of its financial ecosystem for small businesses, and expand its market presence beyond South Africa.

Yoco will expand into the wider African market, as well as the Middle East, and has set itself the goal of reaching one million merchants within the next four years.

The company is currently piloting its technologies in Mauritius with plans to add another country by the beginning of next year.

Among the company’s new investors are Dragoneer Investment Group, which is making its Africa investment debut, after having previously backed fintech giants like Chime, Nubank, Mercado Libre, Square and Klarna. Also joining the round are Breyer Capital, HOF Capital, The Raba Partnership, 4DX Ventures, TO Ventures, and several current and former executives from global tech leaders such as Coinbase, Revolut, Spotify and Gojek.

The funding round also included existing Yoco investors Partech, Velocity Capital Fintech Ventures, Orange Ventures and Quona Capital.

Katlego Maphai, chief executive officer (CEO) of Yoco, said the successful conclusion of this fundraising speaks volumes about the growth potential of the African small business sector.

“We are excited to partner with such world-class investors who have joined our quest to break barriers and create access to financial services for millions of small businesses across the continent,” he said. Looking ahead, this investment will unlock capacity for us to accelerate product development for our merchants and continue on our growth trajectory in South Africa and beyond.”

“Recent consumer behaviour shows a shift away from cash and businesses have to rapidly adapt to this change and this presents a huge opportunity and it is our mission to support that transition”

Carl Wazen – Chief Business Officer, Yoco

Carl Wazen, Yoco’s chief business officer, said that despite being the largest payments platform in South Africa, Yoco is still at the beginning of its journey.  

“There are over six million small businesses in South Africa and well over 100 million across the Middle East and Africa that still transact only in cash. Recent consumer behavior shows a shift away from cash and businesses have to rapidly adapt to this change. This presents a huge opportunity and it is our mission to support that transition,” he said.

To support the company’s growth plans, Yoco aims to increase its team by 200 people within the coming year.

Already, the business has attracted top talent to its executive ranks, including the former VP of product at Monzo, the former product marketing director at iZettle/PayPal, and the former head of communications at Uber.

A new chairman has also been brought on board – Juan Fuentes, former managing director of Pagseguro, a business that he grew into US$19 billion payments giant in Brazil.

Maphai is confident that the funding round and Yoco’s small business-focused approach, coupled with its depth of talent and now the backing of some of the world’s leading investors, positions the digital payments platform on a springboard to significant and long term growth.

“Working so closely with small businesses during a global pandemic, and in particular through a challenging socio-economic environment in South Africa, we have a first-hand account of how agile these businesses need to be in a rapidly changing world,” said Maphai.

“Removing barriers and leveling the playing field by creating access to financial tools is a big part of answering these challenges. Yoco is at the forefront of solving what is critical for small businesses and enabling them to thrive. This new capital injection translates into an acceleration of access for small businesses in our region and beyond, bringing our vision of open commerce forward,” he added.

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