Thunes develops a cross-border payments network to make financial services more accessible in emerging markets. It announced it has raised a $60 million Series B. The round was led by Africa-focused firm Helios Investment Partners, with participation from Checkout.com, and returning investors GGV Capital and Future Shape.
Thunes launched in 2019 and develops APIs and other technology for financial companies, including banks, digital wallet providers, and money transfer services, that helps them reach customers in emerging economies, who often don’t have access to traditional bank accounts. Instead, many rely on digital wallets or mobile money accounts to make or receive online payments.
The latest round will be used to grow its operations across Africa, Asia and Latin America, and brings Thunes’ total raised so far to $70 million.Headquartered in Singapore, Thunes also has offices in London, Shanghai, New York, Dubai and Nairobi. Chief executive officer Peter De Caluwe disclosed that Thunes looked for active investors who could help it work with banks and regulators in new markets, and help them connect with potential clients. Part of its Series B round will be used to hire teams in countries it wants to enter or expand its operations in, including Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and Ethiopia.
“Having Helios, who know many of the regulators and players already in Africa, will allow us to grow faster and get introductions,” said De Caluwe. “GGV did the same for us in China, because GGV is well-established in China and the [San Francisco] Bay Area.”
Helios Investment Partners co-founder and managing partner Tope Lawani said the firm focuses on fintech, especially payments, in Africa, and backed Thunes because it is building important financial infrastructure.
Its other investments include online payment platform Fawry, which recently went public on the Egyptian Stock Exchange.
“Cross-border payments represents a significant market opportunity globally given increasing cross border trade and globalization; yet, across several emerging markets, fragmented and complex payment ecosystems often leave businesses and consumers struggling with slow, costly and unreliable ways of moving money,” Lawani said. “Thunes’ unique platform which was set up to address these pain points by providing accessible, fast and reliable payment solutions stood out to us as a company very well positioned to capture this growth”