How Interswitch leapfrogged to the Promised Land, By Rarzack Olaegbe 

Is it an exaggeration or do Fintechs add value?
Rarzack Olaegbe

It took 40 years. But it should have taken days. God’s original plan for the Israelites was to get to the Promised Land in days. Not four decades. The Israelites were to possess the land God had promised their forefathers. The land was “flowing with milk and honey”. They said they could not oust the current inhabitants. But God told them they could.

They didn’t believe in God. They didn’t believe his promises. This attracted God’s ire. He cursed them. The 40 years of wilderness wandering came because the Israelites disobeyed God. So, the generation that didn’t believe God failed to enter into the Promised Land. But another generation possessed the Promised Land.

The management of Interswitch has leapfrogged the wilderness wandering. Some companies spent decades before doing so

On the one hand

The management of Interswitch has leapfrogged the wilderness wandering. Some companies spent decades before doing so. Now, Interswitch is ready to possess the land that is flowing with “milk and honey.”  It is basking in the euphoria of its achievements. This came after LeapFrog and Tana invested $110 million in the African payments company. The investment will assist the company to scale its digital payment services. Across the continent. One leapfrog at a time.

Has Interswitch reached the Promised Land? Come on. Let’s dig it. It is a leading player with critical mass in Nigeria’s developing financial ecosystem. It is active across the payments value chain. It dreams of a prosperous Africa. An Africa that is driven by a seamless exchange of value. And commerce. It wants to create technology solutions, solutions that empowers individuals; that connects businesses; and unites communities.

That is why LeapFrog, which has investments in exceptional businesses in Africa and Asia, has bought into Interswitch. It will partner with Interswitch to achieve leaps of growth. Profitability. And impact. Its portfolio companies have reached 342 million people in 30 countries. It was ranked by Fortune as one of the top five companies to change the world. Tana also has invested in a portfolio in diverse sectors with operations in more than 20 countries. It has a team of 11 investment professionals from offices in Johannesburg, South Africa and Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

Leapfrog and Tana have bought $110 million shares in Interswitch. The investment from these firms is coming after Visa had paid $200 million for a 20% stake in the company. The Visa deal came after the UK-based Ignite Holdco comprising Helios Investment Partners and TA Associates had taken control of the company. Helios is the largest emerging markets-focused private equity firm.

In terms of liquidity, these investments mean the same thing for the company, the employees, and the shareholders. They have possessed the Promised Land. Why is this so? Interswitch and Helios were searching for the road that leads to the Promised Land. They had thought that a dual-listing strategy on the London and Nigeria stock exchanges would take them to the Promised Land. And create a buy-out strategy for Helios. The dual-listing did not work out.

Then, Visa came. Visa issued an express visa. Not that it did lead to the Promised Land. But it offered Ignite Holdco an immediate alternative. Visa had pointed the way. They have followed it. So, the new fund from LeapFrog and Tana has allowed Interswitch to leapfrog the wilderness wandering. It is now in the Promised Land. This present investment has created an avenue for LeapFrog and Tana to acquire shares from Ignite. Everybody wins. Everybody sings. No skin pain. Paradise is here.

That is why Interswitch Group CEO Mitchell Elegbe said the company was “excited” to welcome LeapFrog and Tana on board. Now the company is working to advance the future of the African payments landscape. LeapFrog and Tana will work with the management to drive Interswitch’s pan-African strategy. The future is assured.

On the other hand

New owners have also emerged at Twitter. Telsa and SpaceX executive, Elon Musk has decided to acquire Twitter. And he would take the company in another direction. Free speech. He has other specific plans for Twitter products. He would grow the revenue. He would grow the users. But somebody was not comfortable with Musk’s decision.

That person was asked to leave. The General Manager of Twitter, Keyyon Beykpour has departed. He has spent seven years in the company. Bruce Falck, Twitter’s Revenue Product Lead, is also departing. There would be more changes to Twitter’s organization and its leadership in the days ahead.

There would be more changes to Twitter’s organization and its leadership in the days ahead.

On this side

So, who among the executives is leaving Interswitch?

Bigmummy, I would not know. But I know a particular top executive named Charlie left after the initial investments.

Now that we have other investors, who will man the treasury, LeapFrog or Ignite?

Bigmummy, why is that your concern? Anyway, the investors could create a dual-hawk to watch the treasury.

Are you sure?

Bigmummy, I am not a shareholder. Why are you asking me?

Ok, do you expect any executive tao resign? You know, this is a common practice after a merger and acquisition.

Bigmummy, why would you say that when $110 million has just been injected into the company?

Look at the Twitter man. He has brought a new strategy of how to grow profitability and create impact.

Bigmummy, obviously that man does not want to wait for 40 years before he gets to the Promised Land!

*Olaegbe (psalmsonolaegbe@gmail.com)