Fusion Capital buys stake in REMU Microfinance Bank
Fusion Capital Ltd has completed buying a 25 percent stake in REMU Microfinance Bank, in a move that will see the private equity firm inject working capital and divest its ‘debt only’ portfolio, to focus on providing pure equity and real estate financing to mid-market companies in East Africa.
This is in line with Fusion’s current strategy to invest only in private equity deals between US $1million to $5 million targeting this segment.
Fusion is a hybrid business financing and private equity house established in 2006 and operating in Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and the UK.
It has obtained the Central Bank of Kenya’s approval for the stake in December 2013, after a thorough due diligence process and vetting of its directors.
REMU is a Microfinance Bank licensed by Central Bank under the Microfinance Act and Regulations (2008). The bank offers deposits and credit services to small and medium size enterprises. Presently, there are eight regulated microfinance banks in Kenya.
The banking sector in Kenya as a whole has seen 10-plus years of rapid growth as institutions have aggressively moved to bring people who were previously excluded to using banking services.
It is estimated that more than 30 percent of the population remains unbanked, offering opportunities for further growth [according to FinScope Survey report 2012].
The partnership will see the bank implement its new strategic plan to grow and expand its branch network and widen its product offering to include mortgage and housing products and electronic banking. In the deal, Fusion has two directors’ seats in the board and in the Credit and Audit committees.
REMU’s General Manager, Lydia Kibaara, said that the firm was excited about the partnership with Fusion as this will see them deliver on their expansion plan. She said: “Indeed, this partnership is strategic to REMU, we will benefit from Fusion’s expertise and support to grow our business.”
Luke Kinoti, Group Chief Executive at Fusion said: “We are thrilled about the new partnership. This is part of our strategy to strengthen our foothold in the financial services sector in the region, having invested in a diverse range of businesses including manufacturing, agro-processing, mining, hospitality among many others.”
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.