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An Ode to Cellulant, a Pan-African FinTech Company

Cellulant is a payments company founded in 2004 by Ken Njoroge and Bolaji Akinboro with a mission to digitise payments for Africa’s largest economies. The company has so far been successful in its endeavour to build a world class business led by entrepreneurial, value-driven people; for Africa, by Africans, in Africa.

Unlike most of the features on which are early-stage ventures, Cellulant is a late-stage venture, which begs the question, why feature a company that is essentially no longer a startup? Well, firstly, as homage to arguably the biggest African FinTech company doing business exclusively in Africa. Secondly, because since its founding and throughout its rise, Cellulant continues to be innovative – evolving with improving technologies and constantly availing new products.

Cellulant avails its services through the provision of products including the Mula App, Tingg and Agrikore. The company summarises the services it offers as changing the way customers pay and get paid in 34 countries all from a single, connected payments platform.

Cellulant processes more than 10% of Africa’s digital payments. Via the mobile platforms, consumers can pay for utilities, airtime, shopping and other commitments – they can also get loans and track their expenses.

Merchants benefit from a secure end-to-end payment channel for merchants that allows customers to pay for merchant services at any time using their mobile phones. Multiple payment channels for merchants guarantee they can convenience their customers with appropriate payment options from the availed Point of Sale Terminals (POS), ATMs, Cards, Agent network, USSD, SMS and Check out APIs for E-commerce.

Other services offered by Cellulant include facilitating digital banking and remittances. The platform allows banks and other financial institutions to provide their customers services including balance inquiries, bank to mobile wallet transfers, airtime top-up, funds transfers and SMS communication. To the institutions, it provides customer management, reporting, transaction, messaging, agent management and service modules. Banks are subsequently afforded the ability to reach previously unbanked and underbanked communities without heavy investments. The remittance service allows for the dispatch of funds and products to multiple users from a single point of interaction. Furthermore, the remittance service extends to activation services. These are used to maximise marketing and bulk SMS products that can be used to send customised information to large target groups.

Cellulant goes to great lengths to be as encompassing a platform as possible and has thus been rewarded for making the lives of both customers and merchants more manageable. The task to find investors is made a lot easier by the provision of great products. According to Crunchbase, Cellulant has raised $54.5M over 3 rounds. The latest funding round was announced on the 14th of May 2018 and raised a massive $47.5M with The Rise Fund as lead investors.

Cellulant intends to use this capital to scale up their operations and expand to other African countries as well as to further develop their latest product, Agrikore. Agrikore is a blockchain based smart-contracting, payments and marketpace system that ensures that everyone in agriculture (Farmers, FMCGs, Agriculture inputs providers, produce aggregators, insurance companies, financial institutions, governments, development partners) can do business with each other in a trusted environment.

It is this perpetual innovation which makes Cellulant an inspiring giant-to-be for many startups in Africa.

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