Virgin Group and Smollan have purchased a stake in mobile loyalty software company, wiGroup for an undisclosed sum, joining Investec Asset Management and Crossfin Technology Holdings as co-shareholders.
The investment secures the company’s expansion into Europe and Australasia, adding to its African footprint.
Founded in 2007, wiGroup has established itself as one of the largest mobile transactional platforms in Africa with over 75 000 integrated till points accepting mobile payments, loyalty and rewards transactions. It provides mobile loyalty software to leading international retail, hospitality, quick service chains, insurance, telecoms, and banking clients looking to enable their customers to engage and transact via their mobile phones in a simpler and more rewarding way.
2017 saw the 20th anniversary of the first mobile payment in the world and global mobile payment usage is set to increase in 2018 as consumers seek ever more convenient ways for making payments. Global mobile payments have exceeded $700 billion in 2017, a rise of nearly $500 billion over the past four years, according to Statista.
“More and more people are using their phones to pay each other, pay for products or take advantage of loyalty offerings,” confirmed Virgin Group CEO, Josh Bayliss.
Virgin Group was founded in 1970 by Sir Richard Branson and has over 60 businesses in various sectors including mobile telephony, technology, travel & transportation, financial services including fintech, leisure & entertainment, and health & wellness.
The investment from Virgin Group follows a successful partnership with wiGroup on the creation of Virgin Money South Africa’s new peer-to-peer payment app, Virgin Money Spot. Virgin Money Spot was launched in January 2018 and allows customers to send money to friends in a simple, safe and social way.
“Virgin has a focus on working with innovative entrepreneurs to identify and commercialise new services and technologies. Their purpose-driven approach to business is something which wiGroup is proud to join forces with,” said wiGroup CEO Bevan Ducasse.
The young and dynamic CEO is hoping to leverage both Virgin Group and Smollan’s extensive global networks to simplify and improve the way the world transacts.
“Smollan’s presence in Southern and East Africa also aligns with our growing footprint in West Africa and Mauritius over the past few years.”
South African-founded leading retail solutions company, Smollan was founded in 1931. Today it employs over 60 000 employees and associates in 24 markets across 5 continents.
Commenting on the deal, Smollan CEO David Smollan said, “We look forward to a strong partnership with Bevan and his team.”
About Author: Sonwabise Sebata is a financial and tech industries expert. Follow her on Twitter: @Sonwabise