SA start-up wiGroup joins forces with UK payments firm Yoyo

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wiGroup co-founder and CEO Bevan Ducasse.
wiGroup co-founder and CEO Bevan Ducasse.

SA-based start-up wiGroup has partnered with UK-based marketing, payments and loyalty firm Yoyo to create a global loyalty company under the Yoyo brand.

In a statement, the companies say the new Yoyo will service existing and new clients through its combined operations in the UK, Europe, Africa and Australasia.

They add the company has raised additional primary funding from SaltPay, supported by existing investor IP Group.

wiGroup is a provider of software-as-a-service (SaaS)-based loyalty, commerce and reward solutions, working with a number of Africa’s largest retail and corporate brands.

It says to date, it has processed transactions worth more than $700 million and is integrated in over 150 000 retail lanes.

On the other hand, Yoyo is a commerce platform that powers mobile payment and loyalty experiences for “thousands of high street retail, education and corporate catering outlets, [and] processes more than three million transactions a month”, says the firm.

Yoyo and wiGroup say they each offered a variety of payment, loyalty and reward SaaS solutions to their clients, serving major brands like Kauai, vida e caffè, Burger King, KFC and Dunkin Donuts across the UK, Europe and in SA.

They note the new Yoyo will focus on high-demand customer engagement and loyalty products, which drive new customers, repeat business, as well as increased frequency and ticket-size to merchants.

Core services include Yoyo Wallet, a mobile application that combines payments, ordering and loyalty to provide customers with a ‘rewarding’ buying experience at thousands of outlets across the UK.

It also includes retail branded applications, which the companies say takes the power of Yoyo and white-labels the solution for merchants to own the customer experience, providing them with powerful online tools to drive customer acquisition, retention and increased spend.

The other core service is enterprise rewards that provide businesses with a rewards application programming interface to issue digital gift cards to customers and employees.

Yoyo co-founder and CEO Michael Rolph and wiGroup co-founder and CEO Bevan Ducasse have been working for a few months to bring the companies together.

“We saw in wiGroup many of the capabilities that customers in the UK and EMEA were asking for in addition to the products and services we already provided,” says Rolph.

“In Bevan and the wiGroup team, we saw great talent, a similar culture and outstanding leadership that suggested that combining the two companies would create a best-of-breed global company.”

“Through joining forces, we’re able to leverage resources across regions, to invest behind one consolidated SaaS product, further our joint vision of delivering the world’s most rewarding buying experience and advance a global growth strategy,” adds Ducasse.

“This is particularly important in the current economic and COVID climate and we will be making several exciting product announcements in the coming months about how we can help support the SME market.”

David Yates, chairman of Yoyo Wallet, notes: “The combination of know-how and skills brought about by the merger of Yoyo and wiGroup, together with renewed investment, enables a bright future for the company. We look forward to continuing to serve our customers with a laser-focus on improving their bottom-line through innovation in loyalty services.”

As part of the deal, Crossfin Technology Holdings, which was one of the first investors in wiGroup, has exited as a shareholder after a 12-year partnership.

Anton Gaylard, chief operating officer at Crossfin, says wiGroup is well-placed to aggressively internationalise the business following the conclusion of the deal with Yoyo.

“wiGroup was the first business that we invested in and has proven to be one of South Africa’s great entrepreneurial tech success stories. We wish Bevan and the team well as they continue to grow their presence locally and globally over the coming years,” Gaylard says.

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