London-based private equity manager Apis Partners LLP has raised $157 million to invest in African and South Asian financial services and payments technology and innovation.

The initial Apis Growth Fund has attracted institutional investors and financial institutions from Europe, North America and Africa to aid "novel business models and last-mile distribution" in the fintech industry, Apis stated in an Aug. 10 press release.

The fund will invest in the financial services sector including payments and card issuance to strengthen current models as well as structural supply-and-demand gaps in the growth markets of Africa and South Asia.

Investments will support partnerships with management teams and entrepreneurs, providing active board participation and operational support.

“We strongly believe that the next wave of business-model innovation in financial services will come from growth markets," Apis co-founder and managing partner Matteo Stefanel stated in the release.

The demand for formal financial services will rise as incomes in those markets rise, representing an opportunity for entrepreneurs creating innovative and cost-effective solutions, Stefanel added.

"We aim to back those entrepreneurs," he said.

Apis Partners operates in five countries behind a team of 12 investment professionals and more than 20 financial services sub-sector experts.

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