In a strategic investment, National Bank of Canada has acquired a 22 per cent stake in Myanmar’s mobile payments provider ONGO. The payments provider is backed by Ronoc Asia, a subsidiary of the Ronoc, an investment firm focusing on emerging markets.
“The addition of National Bank of Canada is an important milestone for our business. We have aggressive growth plans for Myanmar and have set ourselves a goal of providing over one million consumers with access to finance over the next three years,” said Michael Madden, Founder and Chairman of Ronoc Asia/ONGO.
“The addition of NBC as a strategic investor will strengthen our capabilities and accelerate our timelines in Myanmar as well as our expansion to other markets in the region,” he added.
The terms of the deals are not disclosed.
Ronoc, headquartered in Dublin and founded by Michael Madden in 2007, focusses on retail financial services and fintech in emerging markets.
Louis Vachon, president and chief executive officer of NBC said the investment in the fintech complements their activities in the ASEAN zone.
ONGO’s launched in Myanmar end-2016 and has already rolled out some payment services in Myanmar, encouraging locals to use their smartphones to cash-in and cash-out.
ONGO has forged a partnership with Coca-Cola and Myanmar Oriental Bank in Myanmar.
ONGO currently provides payroll services, phone bill top ups and utility bill payments using their app, P2P money transfer and B2B payments. The company says they have over 200 cash agents locations in Yangon. Outside Yangon, Ronoc has offices in New York and Singapore.
Myanmar has seen a surge in mobile financial services but it may take more time to take off as the local population, used to handling cash, adopts the technology. Wave Money, product of Telenor Group, First Myanmar Investment (FMI) and Yoma Bank are some of the existing players in the market. AIM listed MySQUAR has also partnered with MyPAY is working on e-payments and P2P services, OK Dollar, a mobile payment system, led by Internet Wallet Limited is seeking to handle all kinds of payments including bus fares. Other brands include True Money, myKyat and 1-Stop.