Nigeria's Interswitch launches $10M venture capital growth fund targeting epayment startups. Invests $850,000 in Africa Courier Express (ACE)

Mitchell Elegbe, Group Managing Director, Interswitch

Interswitch, a leading pan-African integrated payment company, has announced the launch of a new $10 million ‘ePayment Growth Fund’.

The fund is intended to serve as a catalyst for funding innovation and disruptive business concepts within the payment industry across Africa.

Interswitch is seeking to collaborate with African entrepreneurs and start-up businesses developing innovative products and services that empower Africans to participate in the emerging payment ecosystems currently transforming business on the continent.

The fund has made its first investment in ‘Africa Courier Express’ (ACE), formerly A-Post, a Nigeria-based and Africa-focused technology driven ecommerce logistics and warehousing firm. ACE has developed and rolled out new cutting-edge technology to track, deliver, and collect payments seamlessly.

The Interswitch ePayment Growth Fund will invest an initial amount of $850,000 in ACE, to enable ACE’s West Africa expansion plans, with the potential for follow on funding. Interswitch’s investment in ACE represents the start of Interswitch’s new partnership model to deepen the ecommerce space across Africa.

ACE was launched in November 2013 by Tunde Kehinde and Ercin Eksin. ACE currently provides reliable third-party logistics, tracking, and pay-on-delivery (cash and electronic) services for retail businesses in Nigeria. Since ACE’s launch, it has established physical presence in 5 cities across Nigeria, has shipped to almost 100,000 customers, and is currently one of Nigeria’s largest ecommerce logistics management companies.

With distribution hubs in major cities across Nigeria Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Ibadan and Abeokuta), ACE is currently supporting a number of blue chip clients and is experiencing growing demand for its services across several sectors.

Mitchell Elegbe, Group Managing Director, Interswitch, said: “Interswitch is committed to encouraging innovative ideas and developing start-ups across Africa. We created the $10 million ePayment Growth Fund to do just that, and it is with great excitement that today we can announce our first investment. ACE is exactly the sort of business we want to support – dynamic, energetic, and dedicated to breaking barriers for e-commerce in the African market.”

Tunde Kehinde and Ercin Eksin, Founders, ACE, said: “We are delighted and very proud to be selected as the first investment from the Interswitch ePayment Growth Fund. This new capital provided through our new partnership with Interswitch, and which is part of a larger $2.6 million funding, will enable us to accelerate our expansion through Nigeria and beyond into West Africa.”