A Fintech Exit - Inside the MFS Africa Acquisition of Beyonic
Last episode, we went on a hypothetical startup journey from idea to exit. In this episode, we go on a real one.
In June of 2020, MFS Africa announced the acquisition of Beyonic. Together, the combined company of 95 employees now enables mobile money interoperability between markets and mobile network operators, and offers a suite of tools for SMEs, in 30-plus African markets. We go inside the acquisition - how it came together, why it makes sense, and what it means - both for the two companies and their stakeholders and for the ecosystem as a whole.
2:27 - Introducing some of the main players in the deal - Dare Okoudjou, the Founder & CEO of MFS Africa, Luke Kyohere, Founder of Beyonic, Carina Rumberger, CEO of Beyonic and Rachel Balsham, Deputy CEO of MFS Africa.
3:43 - We go back to 2009, when Dare left MTN to start MFS Africa. What was it like running the business in those early days building the foundation and infrastructure for mobile money usage across the continent?
7:55 - Luke takes us back to the beginning of Beyonic, where he saw an opportunity to build out tools for SMEs using mobile money.
11:22 - In 2018, after a sizeable fundraise, MFS Africa set out to scale. Two of their strategies included a) exploring tools for SMEs, and b) making minority investments in other complementary fintech startups across the continent. As these two strategies converged, Dare and Luke re-connected to talk fundraise.
16:11 - The discussions minority investment quickly became a majority investment and then a full acquisition. Dare, Rachel, Luke and Carina recount their respective thoughts on strategy, and how and why a full acquisition became the deal they pursued together.
19:39 - We get into the weeds a bit on tactics - what was the sell-in process like to each respective company's employees, shareholders and customers?
26:09 - On integration - of the teams and of the products.
30:07 - What does this deal - fintech consolidation, an African fintech acquiring another African fintech - mean not only for the newly combined company but for the African tech ecosystem as a whole?