South African TymeBank secures $110m investment from Apis Growth Fund II
South African digital bank TymeBank, secured an investment amounting to $110 million from Apis Growth Fund II, attracting new investors from the UK and Philippines. The investment, which is one of the largest foreign investments any fintech company has secured in South Africa, will be deployed to bolster TymeBank’s growth and secure its path to commercial success.
The investment represents a strong endorsement for both TymeBank as one of the world’s fastest growing digital banks and for South Africa’s banking sector overall. Like all banks in South Africa, TymeBank is regulated by the Prudential Authority of the SA Reserve Bank. TymeBank is the first bank in South Africa to be operated fully off a cloud-based infrastructure network. It was also the first bank to be granted a commercial banking license since 1999.
TymeBank currently boasts some 2.8 million customers and is expected to reach a milestone of 3 million customers by the end of March 2021. This month the bank is celebrating its 2nd anniversary, having officially launched on 26 February 2019. TymeBank is a member of the Tyme group of companies, which is headquartered in Singapore.
The new investors in TymeBank are Apis Growth Fund II, a private equity fund managed by Apis Partners (Apis), and JG Summit Holdings (JG Summit), which is one of the largest and renowned conglomerates in the Philippines and owned by the Gokongwei family. Both these investors are experienced in financial services in emerging markets. Apis is a private equity asset manager that supports growth stage financial services and financial infrastructure businesses.
Along with TymeBank’s existing shareholders, which includes majority shareholder African Rainbow Capital, the new investors are committed to grow TymeBank into a top tier retail bank in South Africa. They have also entered into an agreement to launch a digital bank in the Philippines, testament to the innovation and digital banking capabilities TymeBank has built. Of the total investment of R1.6 billion, some R500 million has already been invested. The balance of R1.1 billion will be invested over the next 12 to 15 months.
TymeBank values the global expertise that Apis and JG Summit will bring as shareholders and Apis as a Board member. Apis has a strong focus on measuring the sustainability and societal impact of an investment in a company or business. Apis’ experience through its network of payments companies, microfinance banks, and fintech platforms will provide valuable experience for TymeBank through its expansion phase.
Both Apis and the Gokongwei family made the investment in TymeBank based on the strength of TymeBank’s value proposition. TymeBank is satisfying customer demand for low and transparent bank fees, which is generally viewed as both costly and difficult to understand in South Africa. The bank is also improving access to underbanked and under serviced people in the country.
TymeBank onboards an average of 110,000 new customers per month, making it globally recognized for digital banking in emerging markets. The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic has led to increased demand across all customer income groups in South Africa for digital banking options. This supports TymeBank’s goal to grow its customer base to 4 million by 2022.
The new investment will allow TymeBank to further expand its range of banking products and grow its lending portfolio. The bank will also seek to enhance its propositions in insurance, credit cards, and other value-added services to customers. This will support the bank’s ethos of broadening access to financial services to individual clients, entrepreneurs, small and medium business owners into the banking ecosystem.
In line with the bank’s purpose to drive financial inclusion and increase customer choice in the banking sector, TymeBank offers a transactional bank account with no monthly fees and an immediate access savings product with a competitive interest rate. Most TymeBank customers are on-boarded via its physical kiosk located in Pick n Pay and Boxer stores across the country.
Overall, the foreign investment is seen as a positive development for both the South African banking landscape as well as the country in general.