Cardinal Capital Invests In Sim Local
Cardinal Capital Group (Cardinal), Ireland’s largest provider of private-equity investment to SMEs, has made a significant investment in Sim Local, one of the world’s largest pre-paid SIM card providers, with 300 contracted sales points across Europe and the US.
Using its own shops, affinity relationships with well-known retail chains, and a network of airport-based vending machines, Sim Local connected over 700,000 travellers with local SIM cards in 2019. Growth in this area, stalled during the pandemic, is expected to expand rapidly over the next 12 months with the widescale reopening of international travel.
Through Sim Local’s proprietary eSim enabling software, it is also well positioned to benefit from the oncoming transition to eSim technology, which will see physical SIM cards replaced by eSim profiles embedded within the phone. This new technology will allow customers to have multiple plans on one phone and switch between them seamlessly. It is expected to lead to exponential growth in the sale of local SIM profiles amongst the 1.4 billion people who travel internationally each year, allowing them to avoid expensive roaming charges. This will provide a significant opportunity to Sim Local whose 54-country network is expected to grow rapidly.
Killian Whelan, founder and CEO of Sim Local, said:
“This investment by Cardinal Capital along with their expertise in scaling companies will help Sim Local to take advantage of what is a tremendous growth opportunity in the international pre-paid SIM card and eSim markets. Mike’s experience successfully scaling Payzone to become Ireland’s leading point-of-sale and electronic-payments company should prove invaluable to Sim Local as we chart a similar trajectory.”
Mike Maloney, managing director of private equity with Cardinal Capital, said:
“Before Covid, Sim Local was growing very quickly in the pre-paid sim-card market. As the world comes out of lockdown and international travel opens up we are delighted to invest behind Killian and his management team to help the business scale internationally. We particularly look forward to helping Sim Local take advantage of the exceptional opportunity accompanying the widescale adoption of eSim technology.”
Cardinal has invested in Travelwin Group, Sim Local’s parent company, through the Cardinal Ireland Partners Fund. This is the Cardinal Ireland Partners Fund’s third investment, having previously invested in Mowlam Healthcare, Ireland’s largest nursing-home operator and in Luzerne eCommerce, a leading platform and services provider to global brands.
Sim Local was founded in 2011 by Killian Whelan and has grown with support from Enterprise Ireland. As well as providing pre-paid SIM cards to travellers, it has also developed proprietary software that allows customers to download data and voice-call bundles in seconds, which is much faster than any rival technology platform.
To support the investment, Mike Maloney and Daragh Lane will join the Travelwin board.
About Cardinal Capital Group
Cardinal Capital Group is Ireland’s leading provider of alternative capital, directing private-equity capital and real-estate finance to a broad range of sectors in the Irish market. Cardinal invests its own capital alongside institutional funders to support entrepreneurs and corporate management teams as well as real-estate investors and developers.
Cardinal has previously invested in Mowlam Healthcare, Ireland’s largest nursing home operator, Luzerne eCommerce, a leading platform and services provider to global brands, AA Ireland, Lily O’Brien’s, Carroll Cuisine, GSLS, The City Bin Company, Abtran Payzone, Learning Pool, McCauleys and Sports Surgery Clinic.
Investors in the Cardinal Ireland Partners Fund include a number of international institutional investors, local institutions including AIB and a number of previous CEO’s and founders of Cardinal-backed companies.