MFS Africa is a Pan-African FinTech startup  that enables connectivity between mobile money systems and money transfer organisations, including banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions. Money remittances both to and from mobile money accounts are simplified through their innovative Application Programming Interface (API).
Founded in 2009 by Dare Okoudjou, previously of MTN. The MFS Hub is currently connected to 170 million mobile wallets in Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2018, MFS Africa became the first African FinTech to be funded by a China-based Venture Capitalist (VC).
MFS Africa has operational offices in Accra (Ghana), Douala (Cameroon), Lagos (Nigeria), Johannesburg (South Africa), Port Louis (Mauritius) and London (United Kingdom).
MFS Africa was founded by current CEO, Dare Okoudjou, at the end of 2008. Preceding the conception of MFS Africa, Okoudjou worked with the MTN group. His contributions with MTN were specifically related to the successful launch of their first mobile-payment strategy.
At the time of his resignation from MTN, mobile-based payments were already widely in use across the African continent by the “unbanked” populace. However, interoperability between mobile networks and payment services diminished the growth of mobile usage across Africa.
Okoudjou launched MFS Africa as a solution to the infrastructure limitations posed within Africa. Using the innovative technology of a single API, MFS Africa were able to connect the large majority of mobile wallets to their central Hub. Ensuring company compliance with all the necessary regulations of cross-country transactions, service providers were now able to operate across borders and between different countries.
MFS Africa grew exponentially as a result of their partnership with the continent’s largest telecommunication operators. The MTN Group Ltd., subsidiaries of London-based Vodafone Group PLC, and Indian telecommunications company Bharti Airtel Ltd. all utilized the MFS Hub. The stability of the startup propelled MFS Africa to the forefront of African Innovation.
The MFS Africa Hub is a single API that runs as an ecosystem for mobile operators, merchants, banks and a variety of other service providers. It services the e-commerce and m-commerce services. The Hub connects MFS Africa’s customers to their end users. MFS Africa authorizes transfers from brick-and-mortar money-transfer operators to mobile phones. Services can be person-to-person payments, mobile payment services, e-commerce transactions, or financial services such as lending or insurance offerings.
Between 2008 and 2009, Okoudjou raised the $500,000 needed to start MFS Africa. Okoudjou secured angel investors and family office funders. The initial funding, and sizable contracts from cellphone networks, MFS Africa grew from one branch in South Africa to more than 10 on the continent.
At the end of 2011, funds had dried up and offers to sell off portions of the business started to come in. Okoudjou declined all offers, despite the consequential financial strain, and sought out funding from well-established, credible stakeholders. Numerous stakeholders came on board and MFS Africa stabilized and experienced sizable growth.
As of April 2018, MFS Africa secured a partnership with LUN Partners Group to boost financial inclusion in countries targeted by China’s ‘Belt and Road’ initiative. The first Africa-based FinTech to be funded by China-based VC.
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