Digital bank TymeBank is firing on all cylinders to grow its customer base as it announced yesterday that it was acquiring Retail Capital, a fintech firm that provides funding to small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) in South Africa, and launched TymeTrybe, a world-class financial community platform.
The deal with Retail Capital, of which the value was not disclosed, will see the fintech’s lending expertise being combined with TymeBank’s deposit base and operations to serve a broader customer base.
Retail Capital has already provided more than 43 000 business owners in South Africa with more than R5.5 billion in working capital, making it the largest SME funder of its kind in the sector.
The proposed transaction, which is subject to regulatory approvals, will see Retail Capital become a division of TymeBank and forming the foundation of its expanded Business Banking offering.
Shares in JSE-listed African Rainbow Capital Investments, which holds the majority shareholding in TymeBank, were flat on the news in intraday trade yesterday.
TymeBank chief executive and co-founder Coen Jonker said the small business sector in South Africa was vital to economic development and job creation and deserved all the help it could get, particularly given the immense hardship of the past few years.
“We believe our revitalised business banking offering is what small business owners want, need and deserve,” Jonker said.
TymeBank currently has around 5 million customers and more than 100 000 business customers. Its Business Banking offering includes a transactional business account that can be opened in under five minutes, zero monthly bank fees, free debit card and online purchase transactions and free bulk payments, among other benefits.
Jonker said the bank’s number of business customers was just scratching the surface considering the owner-managed business market of South Africa.
“The way we think about it is that our big competition is not people who are banking with the legacy banks. A lot of these customers are not properly served today, are chronically under-served and chronically under-capitalised. The big opportunity is people who are out there who may either not use banking or do not use it the way they can and should use it to empower their businesses. The market size is literally millions big,” Jonker said.
TymeBank also announced the launch of its TymeTrybe, a world-class financial community platform to equip business owners with a comprehensive range of business tools, accredited courses and other educational services as well as access to networking opportunities.
The company said this would be a key feature of TymeBank’s expanded Business Banking offering.
Mo Harvey, the founder and chief executive of Tribe Fintech, said: “What we are building with TymeTrybe is a financial business community platform by SMEs, for SMEs to connect with each other, learn from others who have walked that path before them.
“On top of that, what we really believe in is the education - teaching businesses how to run their businesses better and teaching (their) owners how to be better business owners... We will partner with a number of different education and content providers, both local and global, to create business pathways for side-hustlers and business owners to walk the digital pathways,” Harvey said.
The TymeTrybe platform has secured partnerships with several high-profile organisations, including global tech giant Meta, the Wits Business School, BrownSense and SMEasy as contributors to the platform.
Also in the pipeline is a web-based e-commerce app that makes it easy for small merchants to sell their wares on Facebook and Instagram. A delivery service will be included as part of the offering, named ‘SellOnSocial’.