South African challenger bank TymeBank raises $77.8M fr…

South African digital banking platform Tyme has raised $77.8 million in a pre-Series C round led by African-focused growth stage fund Norrsken22 and Swiss global impact investment firm Blue Earth Capital. TymeBank expects to close its Series C round later this year, it said in a statement.

Tencent, the lead investor in the fintech’s $70 million Series B extension in December 2021, participated in this pre-Series C round and increased its shareholding to become TymeBank’s third largest shareholder. TymeBank is majority owned by Patrice Motsepe’s African Rainbow Capital (ARC); the South African fintech is backed by other investors including the British International Investment (BII), Apis Growth Fund II, JG Summit Holdings (JG Summit), African Fig Tree (AFT), and the Ethos AI Fund.

TymeBank isn’t indigenously South African though. It is a member of the Tyme Group of companies headquartered in Singapore. The holding company, Tyme, focuses on designing, building and operating digital banks for emerging markets. Tyme’s brand in South Africa is TymeBank — and GoTyme in the Philippines, its first market in Asia which the fintech launched last October in partnership with the Gokongwei Group.

Launched in February 2019, TymeBank employs a hybrid model of digital banking and physical service operations. It offers a transactional bank account with zero or low monthly fees and a savings product to its customers, most of whom are onboarded via physical locations including national retailers Pick n Pay and Boxer, top fashion retailer The Foschini Group (TFG) and one of the largest churches in South Africa, the Zion Christian Church. The challenger bank has also seen a substantial amount of accounts opened online and a shift from cash deposits to electronic transfers. Some of its competitors include Bank Zero, Discovery Bank and Lula.

In early February 2021 when we covered Tyme Bank’s $110 million Series B round, the fintech, founded by Coen Jocker, was on track to reach 3 million customers. The company claims to have now hit a 7 million customer milestone this month (in South Africa alone), according to a recent statement shared with TechCrunch. Those numbers are set to increase as the fintech, last year, made a move into business banking acquiring Retail Capital, a fintech that has provided over R5 billion in working capital to more than 43,000 business owners in South Africa. 

“Tyme has continually pushed forward the evolution of banking. Tyme was the first bank in South Africa to be operated fully off a cloud-based infrastructure network and now makes it possible to open a fully regulated bank account in less than five minutes, which can be done online or from a TymeBank kiosk. It also takes nine seconds to send money to any cellphone in South Africa using TymeBank’s SendMoney app,” the statement added. 

TymeBank claims to be recording a revenue run rate of over $100 million annually as its business across South Africa and the Phillippines is growing at a pace of 300,000 new customers monthly. The company says the exponential growth in customer numbers is evidence of how “it is truly serving consumers’ needs and having entered as a disruptor in the industry, it is now entrenched as the credible alternative to legacy banks in the country.”

TymeBank intends to use this new capital, which takes its total money raised to over $260 million, to further operations in South Africa and the Philippines as well as for future expansion in Southeast Asia. Tyme’s global footprint includes its product development and engineering hub in Vietnam and a headquarters in Singapore which leads its strategy, business development, data, analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) functions. 

We are delighted to invest in Tyme. The company offers a unique product with huge customer appeal, which has led to fast and sustained growth. We have analyzed a lot of fintechs from across the continent,  and Tyme set itself apart with its impressive growth, its differentiated product, and its unique ability to reach and serve new customer groups,” said Natalie Kolbe, the managing partner at Norrsken22, on the investment. “The exceptional management team have already built one of the largest challenger banks in the world, and we are looking forward to being part of the next phase of their journey.”

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