SA’s Powertime to spin out PayGenius ahead of funding bid


Cape Town-based company Powertime, which allows users to buy prepaid electricity and airtime as well as pay municipality bills online, is to spin out its payment solutions division PayGenius as a separate entity this year as it looks to raise funding for the new company.

Powertime was founded in 2009, but only launched PayGenius in 2011 following the success of its mobile apps and the increasing demand for online and merchant payment solutions.

PayGenius offers innovative payment solutions: PayGenius Pro for merchants and PayGenius for consumers. The former provides merchants with a simple, convenient and cost effective way to accept credit card payments through various channels, while the latter offers South Africans a secure wallet solution to make one-click payments at any PayGenius-supported merchants.

The solution has until now been operating within Powertime, but managing director Sebastien Lacour told Disrupt Africa a separate PayGenius entity this year as they planned to raise some funding.

Any funding will be used for further expansion of a company that is already making huge progress. PayGenius has opened its multi-currency processing facility, and has expanded into Europe with an office in Paris. A new PayGenius app is also in the works.

Lacour said PayGenius had been born from the realisation that customers were willing to purchase more than just prepaid electricity, or airtime and pay their municipal bills on Powertime’s website and mobile apps.

“At the same time, more and more South African merchants were willing to migrate online or to transact via mobile apps,” he said. “Since we had developed all the components to securely store and process credit card information on the web and via mobile apps for Powertime, we saw an opportunity to market the payment solution as PayGenius to South African merchants and make it easier for them to migrate online.”

Lacour believes the strength of PayGenius lies in its ability to deliver several payment solutions to merchants, including web, mobile and point of sale (POS), while it can also adapt to specific requirements.

“In addition, the merchant benefits from very competitive rates and a very experienced e-commerce and m-commerce partner in PayGenius,” he said, with the company offering round-the-clock merchant and customer support.

The company makes money from a percentage transaction fee, with Lecour saying it processes more than US$7 million per year, with over 60 merchants operating in various industries. This is growing annually by 52 per cent.

There is plenty more for the company to achieve, according to Lacour, as it becomes an entity in its own right.

“PayGenius currently has 20,000 registered users on its platform making payment on a monthly basis,” he said. “We must focus on diversifying its merchant base in order to offer customers a wider range of products and services.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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