MIAMI, Oct. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- YellowPepper [www.yellowpepper.com] announced today that it received the first equity investment in a mobile banking firm in Latin America by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group. IFC provided $3 million and helped mobilize an additional $2 million. This brings the total investment in YellowPepper to more than $15 million.
Created in 2004, YellowPepper, has more than 2 million active users and currently offers services in Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Bolivia, Haiti and Panama. The company is developing a clearinghouse for mobile payments, allowing mobile subscribers, retailers, billers, consumers and banks to interact on a common platform using the mobile phone. The equity investment will help YellowPepper further develop its product and expand its service to new markets.
"Our goal is to bring the banking system to the masses via the mobile phone," said Serge Elkiner, President and Founder of YellowPepper. "Because of the enormity of the task, we sought out an investor whose reputation and approach complement our strategy. IFC fits this profile perfectly. It is also one of the largest investors in electronic payments and mobile banking in the world, contributing invaluable insight and experience to innovations happening worldwide."
"We are delighted to partner with the IFC in bringing our innovative open-platform to Latin America and expanding our capabilities into new markets. The IFC and the World Bank Group have been instrumental in the global development of the mobile banking sector and we are committed to working together in bringing innovative and world-class solutions to Latin America in support of the region's development," said Boris Hirmas Said, Vice-Chairman of YellowPepper.
"In the rapidly changing world of mobile banking, YellowPepper has managed to differentiate itself from the competition and develop a business model that is unique," said Roberto Albisetti, IFC Country Manager for Mexico and Central America. "It allows simple and secure access to financial services for mobile phone users, facilitating commerce particularly for the unbanked and rural populations."
About one-third of the population in Latin America and Caribbean has access to formal financial services. But 80 percent have access to mobile phones, which presents a significant opportunity for extending financial services to millions of low-income customers in the region. YellowPepper, by enabling payments to be made and received directly via a mobile phone, can help speed up commerce, facilitate domestic and international remittances, and increase customers' ability to invest in income-generating assets.
IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in developing countries. We create opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We do so by providing financing to help businesses employ more people and supply essential services, by mobilizing capital from others, and by delivering advisory services to ensure sustainable development. In a time of global economic uncertainty, our new investments climbed to a record $18 billion in fiscal 2010. For more information, visit www.ifc.org
About Yellow Pepper
Founded in 2004, YellowPepper with over 2 million users is positioned to lead the mobile banking/mobile wallet space in Latin America. YellowPepper's unique open-architecture platform allows banks, mobile network operators, merchants and consumers to access its network, providing the foundation for a robust payment ecosystem. As of today, the Company is currently operating in eight countries, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Bolivia, Haiti and Panama.