Float, a Ghanaian cash flow and spend management platform, has completed a full acquisition of Accounteer, a Nigerian subscription-based cloud-based accounting service that combines bookkeeping, tax prep, and financial advisory services all in one platform for African businesses, for an undisclosed amount.
This deal is coming 8 months after Float closed its $17 million equity and debt seed funding, one of Africa’s biggest seed rounds. According to Jesse Ghansah, who co-founded Float with Barima Effah Adjei in 2021, the conversation that led to the acquisition started in 2021, and it took close to 10 months before the deal was finally closed.
Ghansah and Adjei founded Swipe in 2020 to provide invoicing services to businesses. But in June 2021, the company rebranded to Float to extend credit to businesses against their receivables. That is, it gives loans to companies that are expecting to be paid by their clients after rendering a service but are urgently in need of liquidity to run their business. Float was Ghansah’s way of finally solving the credit problem he faced while running OMG Digital, a YC-backed media company he founded in 2015.
Two years on, Ghansah and Adjei’s company now offers a variety of services. Besides its core service, which is flexible credit lines for businesses to cover cash flow gaps, Float also provides bill automation, vendor or supplier payments and invoice collections, while helping businesses connect and manage all their bank accounts and digital wallets in one dashboard. It also helps its users open business accounts, generate payment links, and manage budgeting and spending cards. The company has introduced more features like revenue advances and instant payouts, and is currently testing cross-border remittance in partnership with companies that offer this service.
Float is essentially positioning itself to be the “financial operating system” for Africa’s small and medium businesses, but something is missing: a product to address poor and unconsolidated accounting and bookkeeping. One of the biggest reasons business credit penetration is so low is because most small businesses don’t have structured financial processes and records so it’s difficult for big lenders to underwrite them and extend them credit.
“Most business owners are conflating their personal transactions with their business transactions,” Ghansah told TechCabal over a call. “They don’t have proper accounting practices and proper bookkeeping practice in place. We wanted to fix this at scale.”
The will to solve this problem for their customers led to this Accounteer acquisition. Ghansah said he’s been monitoring some accounting startups since they [Float] identified the accounting problem, and was “particularly impressed by Accounteer’s trajectory over the years to become the cloud accounting software choice for 14,000+ SMBs in Nigeria and beyond”. He believes the addition of Accounteer to Float’s ecosystem of products and services will be game-changing as they scale into new markets with the 2 businesses.
Founded in 2015 by Merijn Campsteyn, Accounteer allows users to create invoices, track expenses and register payments, among other things. The venture-backed company provides accounting software that allows businesses to continue operations offline. For Accounteer, the exit came as it was looking to provide credit to its over 14,000 users in and outside Nigeria.
Ghansah believes that Accounteer has built a solid enough business and will continue running independently under Float. “Float would provide credit while Accounteer bookkeeping and accounting, we look forward to an exciting future with the team” he said. While Ghansah mentioned that most of the Accounteer talent pool would be joining Float, the CEO Campsetyn, who is currently helping with the redesigning and integration of both platforms, won’t be joining Float full-time but would serve as an advisor for now.
Float is currently operational in Nigeria and Ghana with a plan to expand into Kenya before the fourth quarter of this year.
This year, we have seen a number of acquisition deals across the continent. Nigerian Autochek acquired Moroccan KEFAL Autos to break ground in Northern Africa and francophone African CoinAfrique to fuel growth in the region. Moroccan Chari also acquired Axa Credit Maroc in Morocco and Ivorian Diego to kick start its West African operation. This new deal is a worthy addition to the continuous trend of intra-continental mergers and acquisitions in Africa.