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Mobile money biz Fundamo founder moves on

2 years after Visa slurp, Van Rensburg wants to ditch his visas and kick back at home...

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Hannes van Rensburg, the founder of mobile money company Fundamo, is to leave the business at the end of the month.

Fundamo was sold to Visa for $110m in June 2011 and is a major part of Visa's strategy for mobile money - which also includes the British company Monitise.

Bridging the gap between the kind of un-banked and underbanked customer the financial industry usually does not want to serve and the big banking corporations has been something a pre- and post-acquision Fundamo has pulled off on a large scale. It provided financial services for the very poorest people in the world through their mobile phones, especially in rural areas with poor infrastructure.

Unlike NFC, mobile payments in the developing world is not a "pending technology" or "coming soon"; it's a real and vital part of the economy, particularly in Africa.

Most people retire with a view to travelling more and seeing the world. Van Rensburg is retiring for the opposite reason. Fundamo is one of the most successful mobile money platforms in the world, with deployments in 34 countries - including 27 in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. When Van Rensburg says he wants to spend more time with his family, it's not a euphemism.

The techie is based in Tygervalley, near Cape Town, in South Africa. He says that he wants to use his newfound leisure time to refresh his coding skills and learn a new language and explore the food and wine of the Western Cape.

As one of the founding fathers of mobile money, and with 13 years at Fundamo, it would be very surprising if a new, revitalised Van Rensburg doesn't return from a break as an important player in the industry. ®

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