Philippines-listed conglomerate JG Summit Holdings announced on Tuesday that it has participated in the $110 million funding in South Africa-based digital bank Tyme, which is exploring an expansion into the country.
In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, the Gokongwei-led JG Summit said it has taken part in the funding round along with Apis Growth Fund II, the private equity fund managed by Apis Partners, and South African investment holdings company African Rainbow Capital (ARC).
Tyme, whose international management arm, TymeGlobal is headquartered in Singapore, is considered as one of the world’s leading digital banking network for emerging markets, and is majority-owned by ARC.
In a separate interview with Reuters, Coen Jonker, co-founder and executive chairman of Tyme, said most of the money will be used to expand TymeBank in South Africa and to finance its Philippine venture with JG Summit.
TymeBank claims to have attracted 2.8 million customers in South Africa to its digital banking platform since its launch in February 2019.
Tyme is majority-owned by South African billionaire Patrice Motsepe. Motsepe’s investment vehicle, African Rainbow Capital, will reduce slightly its stake in Tyme but will remain the biggest investor.
JG Summit said it is looking to bring Tyme’s digital experience and innovation to the Philippines to support the initiatives of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the country’s central bank, in bringing inclusive financial services further into its population.
Last November, BSP has approved rules allowing the creation and licensing of digital banks in November.
“We see digital banking as the next growth area globally and increasingly in ASEAN and so we are excited to partner with global investment giants Apis and ARC in taking part in this global play by building further success for South Africa’s leading digital bank TymeBank,” stated JG Summit president and CEO Lance Y. Gokongwei.
The investment comes from JG Digital Equity Ventures (JGDEV), the corporate venture capital vehicle of JGS.
JGDEV’s current portfolio includes iPrice, Southeast Asia’s leading shopping companion that offers consumers a catalog of 5 billion products; digital procurement tool Growsari targeted toward digitalizing local neighborhood retail or sari-sari stores; all-in-on hotel operating system Zuzu; virtual logistics platform Zyllem; and consumer data analytics tool Snapcart.
JG Summit has already invested at least $40 million in technology startups in the past. These include Sea Ltd, the firm behind online marketplace Shopee, as well as digital lender Oriente which operates in Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines.