Apis and Crossfin-led Consortium Announces the Acquisition of Sureswipe

  • A consortium led by Apis Growth Fund I, a private equity fund managed by Apis Partners LLP, and Crossfin Technology Holdings, a fintech investment company announced today the acquisition of Sureswipe (Pty) Limited and the formation of Crossfin Transactional Solutions, South Africa’s largest independent payments and merchant acquiring solutions platform
  • The acquisition of Sureswipe complements existing payments companies under the CTS platform and establishes the largest independent payments card acquiring company in South Africa with over 25,000 active clients, 50,000 active card machines over US$ 5 billion in transaction value processed
  • CTS is committed to delivering a comprehensive suite of payments and value-added service solutions to a broad spectrum of merchants operating across South Africa

Apis Growth Fund I (“Fund”), a private equity fund managed by Apis Partners LLP (“Apis”), and Crossfin Technology Holdings, a fintech investment company, has announced the acquisition of Sureswipe (Pty) Ltd (“Sureswipe”) and the formation of Crossfin Transactional Solutions (“CTS”), South Africa’s largest independent payments and merchant acquiring solutions platform. The Apis and Crossfin-led consortium brings together three premium South African Payment Service Providers (PSPs) under CTS. These are Innervation Pan African Payments, Emerge Mobile under the brand iKhokha and Sureswipe.

CTS has the scale and the depth to provide payment solutions to a broad spectrum of South African retailers, from micro-merchants and informal traders through to larger retailers and franchises. Furthermore, CTS provides merchants with a range of ancillary products to help their businesses thrive, including: automated lending solutions tailored to the cash flow requirements of their businesses; bespoke loyalty solutions to drive customer engagement; and a comprehensive suite of value-added services designed to increase cross-sell opportunities into existing customers.

Sureswipe’s Managing Director, Paul Kent, says, “Although the three strong brands have been consolidated under one entity, they will continue to operate independently within their distinctive markets. We believe each provides a distinctive client solution, but that by layering a common shared services platform across the three businesses CTS will provide merchants a “one-stop shop” to help them grow their business.”

Several studies have found that cash is the enemy of financial inclusion and of the poor. Too many South Africans still need to trade off the demands of an hourly job with the need to travel long distances to access cash, or stand in line to pay a bill. These studies further reveal that low-income earners – 46 percent of whom are banked – tend to use cash as a result of very limited card acceptance at micro-merchants, particularly in rural and peri-urban communities where there is no alternative to cash.

“If we are to accelerate the migration of South African consumers to a cashless and financially inclusive society, the payments industry must focus on improving accessibility to payment channels and educate consumers and merchants on the true costs and dangers of cash,” Kent adds. “This new consortium looks to do just that.”
Today CTS is the largest independent merchant acquirer operating in South Africa, servicing over 25,000 active clients, 50,000 active card machines and US$ 5 billion in transaction value. The company will have operations in 7 African jurisdictions.

Matteo Stefanel, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Apis adds: “CTS is anchored by three market leading brands that offer reliable, innovative and secure integrated payments and merchant acquiring solutions within their respective segments. Scale and collaboration across the brands within CTS allow the company to actively support merchants in growing their businesses and both broaden and enhance product offerings across to all merchant types. We look forward to collaborating with Crossfin and CTS to deliver relevant and impactful payments solutions at scale.”

Anton Gaylard, Co-founder and COO at Crossfin, says: “We are extremely excited to finally be working with the team at Sureswipe. This acquisition is the perfect complementary fit to the Crossfin portfolio and further extends our distribution “rails” in the payments landscape. We will continue to invest in complementary businesses to support the team as well as partner with, or invest in, other exciting fintech companies with products and services that can be distributed across our ‘rails’ and which add value to our customers and their consumers, such as our recent investments in Retail Capital and Nobuntu.”

Udayan Goyal, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Apis: “Led by highly experienced management teams with deep knowledge of South Africa’s payments industry, CTS is well positioned to play an important role in driving electronic payments acceptance across South Africa. We are particularly excited to partner with each of the executive teams on driving product innovation that increases formal financial sector participation within the underserved SME segment. Ultimately SMEs are the engine of any economy and we believe that CTS can help facilitate SME growth in Southern Africa.”

Crossfin CEO Dean Sparrow says the collective scale of CTS gives each company the benefit of cross-leveraging best practices, market opportunities, products, services, and distribution. “We see the companies working together to address the different tiers of the South African payments market comprehensively with a value proposition that will be very beneficial to their respective clients, as well as provide sufficient resources to develop best-of-breed technologies that can be brought to market faster than at present. With Apis’ valuable international network and strong capital backing, we’re confident we can make significant inroads into establishing a more inclusive and supportive payments ecosystem for the informal and formal markets, both here and into the rest of Africa.”

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