Indian fintech start-up Cashfree Payments said on Tuesday that it has acquired a controlling stake worth $15 million in Telr, a payment service provider that operates in the UAE and Saudi Arabia markets.
The equity investment will enable Cashfree to expand its presence in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, home to a large and growing market for e-commerce with an estimated value of $8.3 billion as of 2017.
“With this investment, Cashfree becomes one of the largest shareholders in the company,” Cashfree said in a statement without divulging the size of the acquired stake.
The company also revealed plans to establish a cross-border platform with Telr to facilitate payment transactions between businesses in India and the MENA region.
Telr is a UAE-based payment gateway solutions provider that handles payments in more than 120 currencies and 30 languages. It grants access to various payment methods, including Visa, Mastercard, American Express, UnionPay, Apple Pay, PayPal, SADAD, Mada and STCPay.
“The investment is highly significant for Cashfree as the MENA region offers a large, attractive and growing online market, with payments representing the highly developed sub-sector within the region’s fintech space,” the statement said.
The MENA e-commerce market was valued at $8.3 billion in 2017, growing by 25 percent every year since 2014, according to Bain & Company. The consultancy said that consumers in the GCC and Egypt account for 80 percent of the market, and the entire region still has a “massive room” for growth.
“The MENA consumer, and notably the GCC consumer, is among the most connected and digitally savvy in the world,” Bain said in its report.
“The UAE and KSA have some of the highest levels of internet, smartphone and social media penetrations globally, while Egypt has one of the highest levels of time spent online.”
(Reporting by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)
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