Emerging market fintechs are growing at a strong pace, with the pandemic having further accelerated awareness and adoption of new technologies. As a result, many are achieving considerable scale; this growth will typically have been funded through various private equity rounds. However, once their business models are proven, these companies also have the option to raise money via public listings – the scale and publicity associated with such deals can turbocharge growth.
In this report, we look at seven emerging market fintechs that are planning initial public offerings (IPOs) later this year.
These transactions will increase the opportunity set for investors in listed equities; outside the larger emerging markets (like China and South Korea) it can be challenging to find technology-led financial services sector disruptors in the listed space. These highlighted firms could also be candidates for pre-IPO investments.
Below, we present brief profiles of fintechs that are likely to list soon:
Country: Brazil, Sector: Digital payments
PicPay, founded in 2012, is a Brazilian digital payments platform. By end-2020, it had 38.8mn registered users, of whom 16.2mn were considered active by the company (ie they made a transaction during the previous 12 months). The platform’s total transaction value in 2020 was cUS$9bn in 2020, generating cUS$70mn revenues for the company. Picpay’s revenues increased by a whopping 355% in 2020. However, the net loss also increased (up 200% yoy) to US$155mn.
The company has five different product segments:
Social: The company launched a person-to-person (P2P) social payments platform in 2013 and has added various social features to the platform since then. It plans to launch a direct messaging service in the next few months, with group chats and voice and video calls to follow later in the year.
Digital Wallet: PicPay provides an open payment ecosystem that allows people and merchants to send, transfer, receive and manage their own money in simple and innovative ways, including P2P payments, instant payments and transfers, installment payments, QR code payments and API.
Financial Marketplace: This is a marketplace for third-party financial services suppliers to reach both individuals and businesses. The current product line-up includes the PicPay Card and loans, and the company expects to offer additional products such as P2P lending, insurance and investments. PicPay just acts as a distributor, without credit or underwriting risk.
PicPay Store: This is an open platform that allows businesses to create customised mini apps to connect their products, services and experiences to millions of PicPay users.
Ads: The company plans to offer advertising on its app, helping merchants and brands to reach relevant audiences based on users’ behaviour and purchase histories. In addition, PicPay plans to use artificial intelligence to create recommendation models to suggest products, offers and content on user interfaces.
PicPay business model
Source: Company prospectus
Country: South Korea, Sector: Digital payments
Kakao Pay is a digital payments platform sponsored by Kakao, South Korea's top mobile messaging service provider. Kakao Pay has 35mn registered users and 20mn active monthly users. It offers various financial services to its customers including payments, money transfers and asset management. It also recently ventured into the securities business with the establishment of its brokerage unit, Kakao Pay Securities, which had over 3.2mn brokerage accounts at end-2020. In addition, Kakao Pay plans to set up a digital non-life insurance unit that will offer niche products to mobile banking customers, typically young people. Kakao Corp and Ant Group are the major shareholders.
Kakao Pay's transaction value reached an all-time high of US$57bn in 2020, with revenue doubling to US$240mn. Its net loss narrowed to US$21mn last year, versus US$55mn in 2019.
As per news reports, in April Kakao Pay applied for preliminary approval for listing. The approval could take about 45 days to be granted, after which time the company can proceed with the filing of documents.
Country: South Korea, Sector: Neobank
Kakao Bank is a leading internet-only bank in South Korea, again launched by messaging provider, Kakao. In a country of 51mn people, Kakao Bank has 13.5mn registered users and 10mn monthly active users. The largest shareholder of the company is Kakao Corp (32% stake) followed by Korea Value Asset Management Company (27%).
Kakao Bank had US$22bn customer deposits at end-2020, and customer loans of US$19bn. The firm’s profits are growing at an exponential rate, with net profit of cUS$100mn in 2020 – an eight-fold increase. In over-the-counter trading, its enterprise value is reported to have touched KRW30tn (US$26bn), outpacing some leading banks like KB Financial Group and Shinhan Financial Group.
According to news reports, in April 2021 Kakao Bank applied for preliminary listing approval. This could take around 45 days. Thereafter, the company can proceed with document filing.
Country: India, Sector: Insurtech
PolicyBazaar, founded in 2008, offers a comparison platform allowing Indian consumers to compare auto, health, life and personal insurance policies. The portal can boast a 100%+ pa growth rate consistently since its inception and now hosts more than 100mn visitors a year. It has 10mn customers and sells 400,000 insurance policies each month. Around 25% of India’s life cover policies are sold on the firm’s platform. During the financial year ending March 2020, PolicyBazaar’s revenues grew by 147% to INR8.5bn (US$120mn), but the firm still made a loss of INR3.0bn (albeit lower than the INR3.4bn deficit posted in FY 19).
As per recent news reports, PolicyBazaar soon plans to file a draft prospectus for listing in Mumbai.
Country: India, Sector: Digital payments
MobiKwik was founded in 2009 and is now one of the leading mobile wallet providers in India. It allows users to store money in their digital wallets and pay for utility bills, shopping and other merchants. MobiKwik also offers loan facilities to its customers – such as instant loans, credit lines and term loans – and various third-party insurance products, such as online fraud protection, dengue fever insurance, hospital cash, etc. It recently launched an investment product that allows customers to invest their wallet balances in mutual funds.
In addition, the firm has a payments infrastructure arm called Zaakpay, which offers payments solutions to businesses to enable them to accept online payments on the Mobikwik platform. MobiKwik is planning its IPO in September in Mumbai.
Country: Egypt, Sector: Digital payments
Ebtikar, founded by B Investments and MM Group in 2017, is a financial services holding company. After its restructuring ahead of its IPO, Ebtikar will hold only two Egyptian digital payment companies, Bee and Masary. Vodafone is another large investor in Bee and Masary. Ebtikar Holding expects its IPO will take place near the end of 2021 or early in 2022. Fawry is a close listed peer of the company, and has seen very strong investor interest since its IPO in 2019.
Bee was established in 2010 and is now a leading e-payments solution provider in Egypt. It also operates a retail network of more than 54,000 points of sale. The platform offers payments collection services to various mobile network operators like Orange, Vodafone and Etisalat. Bee also provides payment services to end users, like utility bills, transportation tickets, cinema tickets, university fees, etc.
Masary is one of Egypt’s largest payments facilitators and aggregators. It was established in 2009 and now offers collection services for more than 90 service providers and operates a network of more than 64,000 points of sale. Masary also provides services for Egypt’s landline operators (like Orange, Vodafone, Etisalat) as well as the country’s electricity, water and gas utilities, among other government entities. Its services also include education fees, insurance services, mobile wallets, transportation tickets and charity donations.
Country: Egypt, Sector: Digital payments
e-finance was established in 2005 by the Egyptian government to build, operate and manage the sovereign’s financial payments hub, but has now grown to become a much wider digital payments platform offering services to businesses and consumers through a fully integrated suite of digital services. e-finance handles EGP1.6tn of government transactions annually, has issued 40mn+ cards to date, operates an ATM network of over 13,000 and owns and manages more than 50,000 points of sale.
The company has three subsidiaries of interest:
Integrated Smart Solutions – a business-to-business (B2B) model specialising in smart card production;
Khales Retail Network – a business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business-to-consumer (B2B2C) digital payments solution that eases payment and collection process; and
An e-commerce market platform that provides agricultural, commercial and industrial solutions.
The IPO is expected in 2021. As with Ebitkar Holding, above, Fawry is a close listed peer of the company, and has seen very strong investor interest since its IPO in 2019.
e-finance business model
Source: Company website