IFC Investment in Technology Start Up Helps Bring Mobile Banking to Haiti
Tcho Tcho Mobile, a mobile banking service in Haiti, recently won the 2011 Consumer Service Innovation Award from Global Telecoms Business Magazine. Digicel, a long term IFC client, provides the phones and networks, Scotia Bank provides the banking services and IFC equity client Yellow Pepper provides the agents, software and IT infrastructure that makes it all possible.
Set up in a matter of months after the earthquake, Tcho Tcho Mobile has made banking accessible to the 90 per cent of Haitians who don’t use banks but do have a mobile phone. The service allows customers to perform basic banking functions, such as withdrawals, deposits and domestic money transfer to another mobile user. Business can use the service to manage their payroll by transferring money directly into employee accounts and by accepting mobile payments from customers for goods and services.
IFC invested $3 million in the start-up technology firm Yellow Pepper in 2010. IFC also brought in a co-investor who put up an additional $2 million. Investing in a young firm is always a risk but the company was led by a strong team and the IFC telecom, media and technology investment team saw the potential of the firm’s technology to help Haiti and other countries in the region. IFC provided the firm not only with capital but access to IFC’s strong relationships with telecom companies in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Yellow Pepper was responsible for building the payment infrastructure as well as recruiting and training the agents that work with costumers throughout Haiti to use the service.
YellowPepper is transferring its success in Haiti to other countries and currently has projects in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Panamá and Perú.