PayForce is a sub-brand of CrowdForce, which is backed by Y Combinator. The acquisition will enable FairMoney to expand its financial services proposition to merchants.
Although the terms of the deal were not disclosed, sources suggest that it was a cash-and-stock deal worth between $15m and $20m. Oluwatomi Ayorinde, CEO of CrowdForce, will join FairMoney and head the company’s payments business unit: PayForce by FairMoney.
FairMoney has primarily operated as a credit-led neobanking platform targeting retail customers, while CrowdForce, through PayForce, provides agency banking services. This is a branchless banking model that extends financial services to the last mile via a network of human ATMs. However, both businesses have evolved from their flagship products to a range of offerings due to competition-induced innovation and raising venture capital.
PayForce was launched by providing merchants with POS devices and allowing them to offer cash-in, cash-out, transfer and bill payments to retail customers while supplying liquidity via a network of partners.
The fintech serves over 10,000 businesses and has buffed up its product suite to include business banking, finance team tools, B2B payments and virtual cards. It raised a $3.6m pre-Series A last February.
FairMoney started with a digital lending product that covers loans from 15 days to 24 months to mainly retail customers. The company now provides debit accounts and cards, P2P transfers, and payments to over a million retail customers and small businesses. The acquisition will provide incentives for PayForce-acquired merchants who use FairMoney as their primary bank, such as an 18% annual return on deposits.
FairMoney intends to add credit cards, remittance, stock and investment products for its retail customers and includes payroll services, BNPL, and online merchant acquiring into its business-facing product suite.
The Tiger Global-backed fintech is in talks to raise a $30m+ bridge round from new and existing investors, money that will go into making these acquisitions (including PayForce’s) and scale operations outside Nigeria and across Africa.