After 4 Years’ Break, Interswitch is ready to Start Investing in African Startups again
Foremost Nigerian fintech firm, Interswitch Group, is set to resume investing in startups again after taking a 4-year break from the venture. This was disclosed by Mitchell Elegbe, Interswitch’s Founder and Chief Executive, who spoke during TechCrunch’s Disrupt 2020 summit.
According to Elegbe, only startups who meet certain criteria will be considered eligible. Specifically, the company is looking for companies that can add value and consolidate on the successes already recorded by Interswitch in the fintech space.
“We’ll be very selective in the companies we invest in. They should be companies that Interswitch clearly as an entity can add value to. They should be companies that help accelerate growth by the virtue of what we do and the customers that we have,” he said.
Business Elites Africa understands that Interswitch launched the $100 million venture capital arm back in 2015. However, the venture was suspended just a year later after the fintech firm acquired Vanso in 2016.
In the meantime, Interswitch is not so keen on an Initial Public Offering (IPO). Speaking further during the virtual event, Elegebe hinted that his company will continue to priortise strategic alliances/partnerships over an IPO. This is understandable because apparently, partnerships have worked best for the fintech company. Just last year, Visa invested a whooping $200 million in Interswitch, bringing the Lagos-based fintech company’s valuation to an estimated $1 billion.
“Visa, Discover, and American Express are some of the strategic partners that we have come across. We have gone after them because we believe they will assist us in furthering our vision of replicating what we have done in Nigeria in other African markets,” he said.
Note that Interswicth is not completely ruling out an IPO. As a matter of fact, it was almost carried out one in 2017, although the plan was thwarted by a global decline in oil prices. In 2019, the company again considered the plan and even hired JPMorgan Chase and Standard Bank Group to evaluate its assets. As a matter of fact, many analysts anticipated an Interswitch IPO in early 2020. But that did not happen, probably due to COVID-19.
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