The Journey of Yoco: Revolutionizing South Africa’s Payment Landscape

The Journey of Yoco: Revolutionizing South Africa's Payment Landscape

In the bustling world of South African startups, one name stands out as a true trailblazer: Yoco. This fintech company has transformed the way small businesses accept payments, empowering entrepreneurs with seamless and accessible financial solutions. From its humble beginnings to becoming a dominant player in the market, Yoco’s journey is a testament to the power of innovation, determination, and a strong vision. 


Yoco was founded in 2013 by four friends: Katlego Maphai, Bradley Wattrus, Lungisa Matshoba, and Carl Wazen who had worked together previously in different capacities. The team came together before the idea.


The idea was simple but powerful: to provide small businesses in South Africa with an affordable and user-friendly card payment solution. They recognized the challenges faced by small merchants in accepting card payments and aimed to bridge the gap between traditional banking systems and the evolving demands of modern businesses.


Since launching in late 2015, Yoco has grown into the largest independent point-of-sale payments company in the market, with a merchant base of over 60,000 (in  November 2019), 75% of which had never accepted cards before.


In 2017, Yoco expanded its product offering by launching a point-of-sale application for independent retailers and a working capital product whereby merchants can get a cash advance instantly.


It has also partnered with accounting software provider Xero and point-of-sale providers Vend and iKentoo to offer its merchants a fully integrated experience. The company has recently begun expansion into Sub-saharan Africa.


Funding Rounds and Growth:


Yoco’s potential did not go unnoticed, and the company secured funding to accelerate its growth. In 2015, they raised $3.5 million in a Series A funding round led by Quona Capital and Velocity Capital. This infusion of capital allowed Yoco to expand its operations, enhance its product offerings, and reach a wider customer base.


As the demand for its services grew, Yoco continued to attract significant investment. In 2018, they secured $16 million in a Series B funding round, led by Partech Ventures and Orange Digital Ventures. This capital injection enabled Yoco to strengthen its market position and invest in cutting-edge technology to further improve its product suite.


In 2021, Yoco secured US$83 million in Series C funding to accelerate the development of its platform and expand internationally.


Remarkable Milestones:


Yoco’s relentless pursuit of excellence and commitment to empowering small businesses has led to several noteworthy milestones. In 2017, the company surpassed the 10,000-customer mark, signifying its significant impact on the South African business ecosystem. Yoco’s user-friendly interface and transparent fee structure resonated with merchants, establishing trust and loyalty.


In 2019, Yoco reached a major milestone by processing over $1 billion in card payments, a testament to its exponential growth. The company expanded its customer base to more than 80,000 merchants, cementing its position as South Africa’s leading provider of card payment solutions for small businesses.


In October 2021, Yoco launched a new card machine, the Yoco Khumo, that offers the fastest connectivity speed ever on a Yoco card machine as it connects to the widely accessible 4G network speeds, with unlimited data, and can connect to wifi. 


The journey of Yoco exemplifies the transformative power of innovation and entrepreneurship. From its humble beginnings, this South African startup has disrupted the traditional payment landscape, empowering small businesses with accessible and user-friendly solutions.

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