Cape software firm attracts funding from two global players

2018-02-05 08:15 - Kyle Venktess, Fin24
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wiGroup CEO Bevan Ducasse


Johannesburg - Cape Town-based mobile software firm wiGroup secured an undisclosed investment from two leading global firms - the Virgin Group and retail solutions leader Smollan. 

The investment is set to fast-track wiGroup’s entry into emerging and developed markets.

wiGroup CEO Bevan Ducasse said the investment comes as the company is looking to accelerate its global expansion programme. 

“We continue to invest in our people and our products to take us one step closer to our vision of simplifying and improving how the world transacts,” Ducasse told Fin24. 

The investment follows similar funding from Investec Asset Management in 2015, which Ducasse said helped wiGroup establish itself as the largest mobile transactional platform in Africa, with over 75 000 integrated till points accepting mobile payments, loyalty and rewards transactions. 

“More recently we have set up offices in the UK, France and Netherlands and established partnerships in the Middle East and Australia regions,” he said. 

"Our presence in Europe and expansion into Australasia and emerging markets will be fast-tracked by leveraging both Virgin Group and Smollan's extensive global networks. As a business this brings us one step closer to realising our vision of simplifying and improving the way the world transacts," Ducasse added.

wiGroup is also looking to expand locally.

“We’re busy finalising the launch of a few mobile services for various South African brands in the local hospitality sector. We’re also launching more 'On demand and Order' ahead focused products in the QSR (Quick Service Restaurant) for example, Woolworths’ Now Now app, allows you to order a lunchtime meal and have it delivered to your desk – if you’re an office worker nearby their stores,” Ducasse told Fin24. 

Some of the most recent mobile loyalty examples by wiGroup include the Mugg & Bean App where customers earn "M&B beans" on every transaction, as well as Hungry Lion’s surprise and delight campaign.

The investment from the Virgin Group follows a successful partnership with wiGroup on the creation of Virgin Money South Africa’s new peer-to-peer payment app, Virgin Money Spot, which launched in January 2018 and allows customers to send money to peers. 

Josh Bayliss, Virgin Group CEO, said that more people were using their phones to pay each other, pay for products or take advantage of loyalty offerings.

“We are always on the lookout for innovative companies with an eye on making our customers’ lives easier; we’re delighted to be investing in wiGroup and we look forward to supporting them on the next stage of their business journey,” Bayliss said.

Smollan is an international retail solutions provider operating in five continents and over 450 000 retail stores worldwide.

CEO David Smollan said that wiGroup had successfully pioneered mobile loyalty, rewards, and transacting services for some of the world's leading brands.

"Its understanding of mobile as a transactional tool is perfectly suited to brands operating in both developed markets as well as fast-paced emerging market environments. We look forward to a strong partnership with Bevan and his team," he said. 

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