TymeBank, the South African digital banking platform, has successfully raised $77.8 million in a pre-Series C funding round led by Norrsken22, an African-focused growth stage fund, and Blue Earth Capital, a Swiss global impact investment firm. The company plans to conclude its Series C round later this year, according to a statement released by TymeBank.
Tencent, the primary investor in the fintech's $70 million Series B extension round in December 2021, also participated in this pre-Series C round and increased its stake, becoming TymeBank's third-largest shareholder. TymeBank is primarily owned by African Rainbow Capital (ARC), led by Patrice Motsepe, with additional backing from investors such as British International Investment (BII), Apis Growth Fund II, JG Summit Holdings (JG Summit), African Fig Tree (AFT), and the Ethos AI Fund.
Although TymeBank is not originally a South African company, it is a member of the Tyme Group of Companies based in Singapore. Tyme's focus is on designing, building, and operating digital banks in emerging markets. In South Africa, TymeBank operates under the TymeBank brand, while in the Philippines, its first market in Asia, it operates as GoTyme in partnership with the Gokongwei Group.
Established in February 2019, TymeBank employs a hybrid model of digital banking and physical services. It offers transactional bank accounts with minimal or no monthly fees and savings products to its customers. Most of its customers are onboarded through physical locations, including national retailers such as Pick n Pay and Boxer, leading fashion retailer The Foschini Group (TFG), and one of South Africa's largest churches, the Zion Christian Church. The challenger bank has also witnessed a significant increase in online account openings and a shift from cash deposits to electronic transfers. Competitors in the market include Bank Zero and Lula.
When TymeBank secured the first tranche of its Series B funding at $110 million in early February 2021, the fintech, founded by Coen Jocker, was on track to reach 3 million customers. Now, the company has achieved a significant milestone of 7 million customers in South Africa alone, as stated in a recent announcement. The numbers are expected to rise further since the fintech entered the business banking sector by acquiring Retail Capital, a fintech that has provided over R5 billion in working capital to more than 43,000 business owners in South Africa.
TymeBank takes pride in its innovative approach to banking. It became the first fully cloud-based bank in South Africa and enables customers to open fully regulated bank accounts in less than five minutes, either online or via TymeBank kiosks. The company's SendMoney app also allows users to send money to any cellphone in South Africa within nine seconds, emphasizing its commitment to convenience and efficiency.
With a revenue run rate surpassing $100 million annually, TymeBank is experiencing rapid growth in its customer base, with 300,000 new customers joining each month in South Africa and the Philippines. The company believes this exponential growth demonstrates its ability to meet consumer needs and solidify its position as a credible alternative to traditional banks in the country.
The newly raised capital, which brings TymeBank's total funding to over $260 million, will be utilized to expand operations in South Africa and the Philippines and support future expansion in Southeast Asia. TymeBank has a global presence with a product development and engineering hub in Vietnam and its headquarters in Singapore, overseeing strategy, business development, data analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI) functions.
Natalie Kolbe, the managing partner at Norrsken22, expressed excitement about investing in TymeBank, praising the company's unique product offering, rapid and sustained growth, and ability to serve diverse customer groups. She highlighted TymeBank's management team, which has successfully built one of the largest challenger banks globally, and expressed enthusiasm about joining the company in its next phase of growth.