TymeBank chases $150 million funding in unicorn run up

Funds from the raise will fuel expansion into new markets, particularly Indonesia, by year-end, following entries into Vietnam and the Philippines

TymeBank chases $150 million funding in unicorn run up
The profitable venture looks to list back home and abroad

Joburg-based TymeBank is on the verge of a $150 million Series D funding round, as it seeks to cement its position as Africa’s fastest-growing digital bank. CEO Coenraad Jonker recently shared the firm's plans, hinting at a future IPO and international expansion in the wake of economic and operational hurdles.

TymeBank’s current valuation approaches the $1 billion mark; Jonker targets completion of the Series D by Q4 2024 to claim unicorn status. This round, nearly twice last year’s $77.8 million raise, would show robust investor confidence and support the bank’s ambitious growth strategy, should it suffice. 

Jonker also plans to list the venture on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) by 2028, with a secondary listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), emphasizing the bank’s commitment to both global recognition and its South African roots.

Funds from the raise will fuel expansion into new markets, particularly Indonesia, by year-end, following successful entries into Vietnam and the Philippines, where profitability is expected within 18 months.  

In December 2023, TymeBank became profitable, a rarity among digital banks, globally. The milestone can be attributed to its blend of digital channels, in-store kiosks, and partnerships with major retailers— which facilitated the monthly acquisition of 150,000 new customers.

Link-ups with giants like Pick n Pay, Boxer, The Foschini Group, and the Zion Christian Church have driven the said growth. With over 8.5 million customers, 1,000 kiosks, and 15,000 retail points across the country, these partnerships did solidly for accessibility and increased customer loyalty.

Its offerings, including affordable banking services, an 11% fixed deposit savings rate, and interest-free Grant Advance for social grant recipients, differentiate it in the market. Collaborations like healthcare insurance with the National Healthcare Group further cater to diverse customer needs.

The bank’s lending portfolio saw a 30% year-on-year growth, supported by products like Merchant Cash Advance, benefiting over 50,000 SMEs and contributing to economic development. Reportedly, it is now South Africa’s fastest-growing bank. 

“We want  to be in the top three in customer numbers and from a return on equity perspective. Initial engagement with investors encouraged us to consider raising a larger round to enable the group to accelerate the pursuit of further attractive opportunities that we currently see in the industry,” Jonker told Bloomberg.

Looking ahead, the business aims to expand its mission of providing accessible banking services, to which chairperson Thabani Jali and major shareholder Dr. Patrice Motsepe express optimism. Backed by $300 million from investors like Tencent, British International Investment, and Apis Growth Fund II, the business is well-positioned for even more growth.

TymeBank’s journey, from its 2019 launch to profitability, and [to] rapidly expanding its digital banking, demonstrates resilience and foresight. The potential Series D, IPO preparations, and international expansion underscore commitment to growth and [the] vision to rank among South Africa’s top three retail banks. 

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