Orange has contributed to a fund-raising program initiated by Afrimarket, the leader in cash-togoods money transfers.
This investment comes a few months after Stéphane Richard, Chairman and CEO of Orange, announced that the Group and the start-up had entered into a commercial partnership. In addition to this investment, Orange will participate in the development of Afrimarket by sharing market knowledge and the many benefits of an international mobile operator with a strong brand notoriety.
Money transfers in the form of “cash-to-goods” enables people in Europe to pay directly for everyday goods or services (food, healthcare, education, etc.) in partner retail outlets for contacts living in Africa. This type of service has grown into one of the most promising segments in the international money transfer market. In choosing how he or she wants to help his family and friends, the user also pays lower fees compared to traditional solutions and can be sure of the quality of the end-products purchased with the funds.
Three young entrepreneurs – Rania Belkahia, Jeremy Stoss and François Sevaistre – founded Afrimarket less than two years ago in France. The start-up has grown quickly, aided by an innovative business model and broad knowledge of cross-border transfers and African immigrant populations in Europe.
The decision to take a minority stake in the company reflects Orange’s new strategy of funding start-ups through vehicles such as Orange Digital Ventures. The investment is also the first one to be made in a start-up that has gone through the “Orange Fab” acceleration program.
For Pierre Louette, Deputy CEO of Orange, “Afrimarket is a start-up in the development phase with an original and promising offer. It’s a good example of the type of project that our new Orange Digital Ventures fund is interested in investing in. We’re supplementing Orange’s existing open innovation initiatives, such as Orange Fab”.