Dublin’s Ding sells majority stake to Pollen Street Capital

2 Sep 2021

Image: © Jacob Lund /Stock.adobe.com

The deal marks the first time the Irish top-up service has taken on external investment since the company was founded in 2006.

Mobile top-up provider Ding has sold a majority stake to Pollen Street Capital, a private equity firm.

Financial details of the deal have not been publicly disclosed, though RTÉ cites “market sources” for a figure of more than $300m. The transaction is expected to be completed later in September.

This is the first time the Dublin-based company has brought in outside investment since its founding in 2006. It plans to use part of the new capital to expand its operations.

Ding allows people to send mobile top-ups to contacts around the world, describing itself as the “world’s leading top-up service”. It works with more than 550 operators in 150 countries, and has delivered more than 450m individual top-ups in its 15 years of operation.

The company was founded by Mark Roden, previously a co-founder of Esat Telecom. Roden served as CEO until 2017, and remains the business’ chairman. In 2019, Ding opened a London office, and has grown to employ more than 200 people.

In 2020, Ding had revenues of $58.5m. Roden told the Irish Times the company had grown more than 40pc during the pandemic, and is considering an IPO at some point in the future.

In a statement, Roden said: “16 years ago, we set out with a mission to solve a real problem, to simplify how people separated from their loved ones could stay connected to those back home.

“At that time, the process was cumbersome and inefficient and today, through Ding’s platform, we have transformed how people stay connected.”

He added: “With 6bn prepaid phones in the world and an ever-increasing demand for mobile data there is a significant market opportunity to offer more products and services to current and future customers.”

Ian Gascoigne, partner at Pollen Street, explained that this deal was selected as an impact investment for its potential in promoting financial inclusion and global connectivity.

“Ding exemplifies Pollen Street’s investment strategy of identifying market leading technology businesses, whose propositions can be enhanced through further investment into technology and an increasing use of data,” he said.

In July, Pollen Street sold Irish company Capitalflow to its own investee Bunq for €114m.

Jack Kennedy is a freelance journalist based in Dublin