Yoco has revealed that is has now launched a new Yoco Neo Touch card machine, which offers unlimited 4G data and all-day battery life.
Coming at a cost of R899, in order for businesses to start transacting immediately once they have the small blue device, is to sign up on the Yoco app to process instant payments and invoices.
Yoco was founded by Katlego Maphai who is now the CEO of the brand, Carl Wazen who is the CBO, Bradley Wattrus who is the CFO as well as Lungisa Matshoba who is the Chief Technology Officer back in 2013 with the aim to “address the pain points that small businesses face when trying to get a card machine”. These have historically been very expensive to buy and operate, creating opportunities for fintech start-ups like Yoco and rival iKhokha.
The brand managed to raise US$83-million (about R1.6-billion at the time) from top investors in a series-C funding round in 2021. The investment brought the total funds raised by Yoco to $107-million (about R2-billion) and were earmarked for accelerating the development of its financial ecosystem, which includes online and in-store payments, business software and capital, as well as expanding its market presence beyond South Africa.
The new investors consist of the likes of Dragoneer Investment Group, Breyer Capital, HOF Capital, The Raba Partnership, 4DX Ventures, TO Ventures, Futuregrowth, plus plenty of the current and former executives from global technology companies such as Coinbase, Revolut, Spotify and Gojek.
During that time, Maphai mentioned that the investment round would “unlock capacity for us to accelerate product development for our merchants and continue on our growth trajectory in South Africa and beyond”. A few years later the company saw rapid growth of 350 000 merchants who use Yoco to process payments quickly and effortlessly, with a growth in sales of 90% in 2022.
At the launch event for the Yoco Neo, Wazen said this year the company pivoted from adolescence to adulthood.
“Growth is sometimes uncomfortable, but we saw that discomfort as a catalyst. Our merchants in the small business community – our primary market – have reported transactions growing by 16% year on year since 2022, outpacing inflation. The team behind Yoco tries to push boundaries and innovate to make digital transactions easier but safer, which means constant redesigning behind the scenes, said Wattrus. “We have a mantra we try to apply consistently: it’s all about the people, the process and the technology.”
He added by saying that the new Neo was built specifically for small South African businesses. Some small business owners work long hours, five or six days a week, as one-man bands. They don’t have time to deal with drama, so the machine has to work smoothly and ensure ease of payments when they are dealing with over 200 transactions a day.
The machine is said to have been designed by a team of engineers in Cape Town. Group product marketer Berno Potgieter said the first step in the new design was to make 3D prototypes to perfect the shape and size, which were tested over three months.
He also revealed that the new shape also allows the company to save on hardware costs, therefore components were secured from partners in China – similar to the kind used by Huawei – because of their cost effectiveness. The device runs Android 13 and offers Wi-Fi and 4G connectivity.