Mobile financial services provider and financial inclusion company Wave Money is receiving a boost today from Alipay parent Ant Financial. In an agreement announced, Ant Financial disclosed plans to invest $73.5 million in Wave Money, bringing the company’s total funding to $92.9 million.
The move will position Ant Financial as a substantial minority stakeholder in Wave Money, which is a joint venture between existing stakeholders Telenor and Yoma Bank.
Wave Money is headquartered in Myanmar and seeks to drive financial inclusion across the country. The company operates 57,000 Wave shops located in 295 out of 330 townships nationwide, covering approximately 89% of the country. In all, more than 21 million people have used Wave Money’s services, including Wave Pay, which is used for remittances, utility payments, airtime top-ups, and digital payments.
On the strategic side of the investment, Wave Money will tap Ant Financial’s expertise in mobile payments to help build out its digital capabilities and enhance its user experience.
“Myanmar’s population is still massively underserved by formal banking institutions with only a quarter of people having a bank account,” said Yoma Strategic CEO Melvyn Pun. “Ant Group brings a wealth of expertise in mobile payment and financial services. The covid-19 situation is accelerating the trend towards a cashless society and drives the growth of ecommerce, and we expect this strategic partnership to massively boost Wave Money’s capabilities to support these trends.”
The investment comes amid a time of growth for Wave Money. Last year the company’s transfer volume more than tripled year-on-year to $4.3 billion. During the same period, Wave Money’s revenue and transaction numbers also tripled. Additionally, the number of monthly active users for Wave Pay have increased 14% per month since the service launched in 2018.