Octopus Ventures Ltd ("Octopus"), one of the UK's leading investment companies in early-stage and expanding companies, has led an investment round of £3 million into Mi-Pay Ltd ("Mi-Pay" or "the Company"), a leading processor of payments for the fast-emerging mobile money sector.
The investment round was also supported by existing institutional investor Albion Ventures LLP and management.
Mi-Pay's existing service enables customers to 'top-up' their pre-paid mobile phone directly on-line, or via their mobile phone, rather than using indirect brand channels such as Paypoint or bank ATMs. Benefits of the direct service include cost reductions for mobile network operators and a more personal engagement with customers, removing the anonymity of customer relationships allowing substantial improvements in customer churn management.
This round of investment will enable Mi-Pay to roll out its new mobile money services, which are now fully developed and ready to scale with blue-chip launch customers. The additional mobile phone services include:
• International Airtime Top-up: Customers can top-up pre-paid mobile phones on behalf of friends or relatives overseas.
• Domestic money transfer: Enabling agent networks such as banks and mobile operators to run domestic money transfer services in emerging markets.
• International money transfer: A white-label service enabling money transfer networks to run direct (online and mobile phone initiated) money transfer services.
Mi-Pay currently operates throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and has an impressive client list of well known brands including Tesco Mobile, The Carphone Warehouse, Vodafone, Du in UAE, KPN Telfort and Zain amongst others.
The allocated funds for Octopus were provided by the Octopus Titan VCT funds, together with the Octopus Eureka EIS and the Octopus Investor Group.
Alex Macpherson, Chief Executive of Octopus Ventures, said: "We are delighted to be joining the team at Mi-Pay. Octopus looks to partner businesses with exceptional management teams, innovative products, and large addressable markets - Mi-Pay has these elements to its business. We now look forward to working closely with the business ans and ensuring that it continues to build on strong foundations."
Ed Lascelles, Partner of Albion Ventures, said: "We continue to be impressed by the team at Mi-Pay and the progress they have made in developing the Company's leadership position. We are delighted to further support Mi-Pay as it takes advantage of the considerable market opportunity."
Norman Frankel, Chief Executive of Mi-Pay, said: "Mi-Pay is delighted to have funding and support from Octopus Ventures as well as existing investors Albion Ventures. Their pedigree working with eCommerce related businesses will add significant value to our business and strengthens our list of blue-chip investors. With their help, we can develop the many significant opportunities in this dynamic market while continuing to deliver our award winning market innovation. The investment will enable us to achieve our strategic and operational goals which include driving International Airtime Top-up and money transfer solutions to a wider market in key remittance corridors in Europe, Africa, Middle East and Latin America."
Alliott Cole led the deal on behalf of Octopus. Shoosmiths were legal advisers to Octopus. Ed Lascelles represented Albion Ventures. Miranda Morad of Berwin Leighton Paisner provided legal advice to Albion. Mi-pay received legal advice from Mark Lucas at Barlow Robbins. Corporate Advisory services were provided to Mi-Pay by Stuart McKnight of Ascendant.