The Fintech solution was developed to help Kenyan SMEs easily manage their accounting operations at a fraction of the usual costs.

Lipana is a fintech solution developed by a Kenyan startup. It allows Kenyan SMEs to keep their accounts as well as send and receive payments through M-Pesa.

“We saw a need for a cheaper, easier-to-use bookkeeping solution since the existing players include Sage and Quickbooks, which are usually too complicated and expensive for the small business owner to use. Lipana solves this by being the easiest bookkeeping application for small businesses in Kenya,” says Shadrack Apollo, co-founder of Lipana.

The solution has no mobile app. On its web platform, users can register for an account to access the numerous services offered, including sending invoices and quotes, accepting payments, sending invoice reminders, and monitoring the paid, and unpaid invoices. They can also send payments via M-Pesa, bank cards, or any other mobile money or bank account.

Lipana also makes it easy to classify client information, payments, and invoices and monitor company expenses. It charges its users Ksh999 (US$8) monthly, Ksh4,999 per semester and Ksh9,999 per year.

Adoni Conrad Quenum

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The serial entrepreneur has already founded five firms and its fintech solutions leverage blockchain technologies to secure and facilitate financial transactions between users.

 Aronu Ugochukwu (photo) is a young Nigerian entrepreneur and the co-founder/CEO of fintech startup Xend which provides payment and management tools to SMEs

Thanks to its innovative solutions, Xend (founded in 2019) helps businesses make online and offline payments, and manage their inventory among other things.

In 2019, Aronu Ugochukwu also founded crypto bank Xend Finance with the support of  Binance and Google Launchpad. The bank offers up to 15% interest annually on deposits. Its Web3 is open for developers and it claims to be Africa's first DeFi (decentralized) company and also the first African company to be listed on Binance Smart Chain. In August, it launched XendBridge, a blockchain payment API (application programming interface), and SwitchWallet, "an enterprise-grade wallet provision service."

The serial entrepreneur also founded Wicrypt, a smart wifi network that allows users to get paid by sharing their wireless internet connection with others. "Wicrypt is providing last-mile internet to people of the world who need it, while leveraging the blockchain by having hosts stake $WNT [ed. note: the startup's cryptocurrency] to become a part of the Wicrypt Network," he explained in 2021.

In 2016, he founded IT service company Ugarsoft. Before co-founding, instant delivery platform Ogwugo (the first Nigerian firm to accept bitcoin payments).

Given his young age and the numerous ventures he has already launched, one would believe that he has always been an entrepreneur but, this is not the case. He also has a professional career. In 2014, he joined KPMG Nigeria as an IT advisory associate. From September 2015 to June 2016, he was a software developer for IT services and consulting firm Lloydant Business Services.

Melchior Koba

Published in TECH STARS

Masroofi takes tech-enabled financial inclusion to the next level by reducing the age barrier in Egypt. Indeed, while the minimum age required to get a bank card is 16 years, the solution offers a tailored solution for children. 

Masroofi is a digital solution developed by an Egyptian startup. It allows children aged between five and fifteen to get virtual payment cards for various transactions.  The solution targets closed communities like school sports clubs to enable children to get used to the various digital and cashless solutions around them. 

“As parents, many of us struggle with our children having cash in their hands because they are usually unaware of its worth. They either spend irresponsibly or they lose the cash. This is our seamless solution to parents, with regular notifications to parents of their childrens’ spending habits,”  says Masroofi co-founder and CEO, Mostafa Abd Elkhabir.

The solution has a mobile app accessible for iOS and Android devices. Using the app, parents can create accounts to request Masroofi cards for their children (for EGP75 or about US$2.72) and load those cards. 

The payment cards issued by Masroofi use NFC technology but, they are neither Visa nor Mastercard-branded.  On Playstore, the Android version of its app has been downloaded more than 50 times. Despite that low download count, the founders want to add more features to give an improved financial education to children.  

“We are considering creating an age-appropriate simulation that features different types of investment to expose children to investment experiences through their mobile application,” Mostafa Abd Elkhabir explains.

Adoni Conrad Quenum

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The solution is the successor of the proprietary solution AppZone. Its stated mission is "to connect every monetary store of value using blockchain."

Zone is a fintech solution developed by the Nigerian start-up Appzone Group. As the successor of the startup’s fintech solution Appzone, it “allows participating institutions to connect directly with each other and perform payment transactions without an intermediary while completely automating settlement, reconciliation, and dispute management.” 

The solution is a regulated Blockchain network that enables payments and acceptance of digital currencies. According to the startup, its Layer-1 blockchain network guarantees 100% transaction success for payments made in fiat currency or digital currencies. In addition, it guarantees frictionless transactions and universal interoperability. As the platform says, "the network ensures that end-users interact in an easy and natural way and that service providers don’t need to make any extra effort to support payment functionality."

Zone also “supports integration to all systems that store monetary value and all touchpoints used to initiate payments.” To make the system more efficient, it provides simple and effective programming interfaces that can be used multiple times for different payment transactions. 

In early 2021, to support the expansion of its technology, AppZone raised US$10 million in Series A financing. “As Appzone, we launched the first core banking and omnichannel software on the cloud as well as the first multi-bank direct debit service based on single global mandates. With this transition to Zone, we are utilizing the power of blockchain technology to connect every monetary store of value and enable reliable, frictionless, and universally interoperable payments,” says Obi Emeratom (photo, center), Co-founder and CEO of AppZone.  

Adoni Conrad Quenum

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The solution helps Mauritians in need get loans and individuals help their compatriots while making small profits in the process. 

FinClub is a fintech solution developed by a Mauritian eponymous start-up, launched in 2018. It allows users to borrwwo money directly from other users with no middleman in the process.

“FinClub acts as a facilitator to connect Lenders directly with Borrowers. Using a seamless and fully automated online platform, with minimal overheads, we pass on the savings to Borrowers who get competitive loans and to Lenders who get higher interest rates,” the startup explains on its website.

To access its services, users can register their accounts, either as lenders or borrowers, via the solution’s mobile app -accessible for Android and iOS devices-. Then they need to upload the required documents.

Once fully verified, borrowers can start borrowing funds for emergency purposes and lenders can put their money to work as FinClub connects to “credit-worthy” borrowers.

Currently, the solution’s Android app has been downloaded more than a thousand times on PlayStore. In 2022, FinClub was selected along with seven other Mauritian startups to take part in Viva Technology, one of the European most important tech events that help gain national and international exposure.

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Published in Solutions

The entrepreneur, with over 10 years of experience in the financial service sector, aspires to make a greater impact in her country and Africa. As part of this ambition, Chilufya Mutale (pictured) has co-created a startup and has received multiple awards within and beyond borders.

PremierCredit was launched in 2019. It offers an online microcredit and investment platform, operating in Zambia and Zimbabwe, that allows businesses and individuals to manage their finances more effectively by helping them save, borrow and invest easily to achieve their financial goals. The startup provides affordable credit to borrowers with flexible terms that contribute to financial inclusion and passive income for investors.

“We are building a Challenger bank for Africa that provides embedded finance that is inclusive and introduces previously disadvantaged income groups into formal financial services, thereby contributing positively to financial inclusion. PremierCredit contributes to economic growth through supporting SMEs, which form the backbone of economies in emerging markets, with capacity building through financial literacy as well as providing working capital solutions and investment services,” the co-founder and CEO said.

The certified expert in SME finance and risk management from the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management also holds a post-graduate degree in Project Management from Cavendish University in Zambia (2011). She also graduated from the University of Zambia with a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resource Management. The idea of founding PremierCredit was born out of her desire to better serve her clients by providing solutions that better meet their needs while she was still the CEO of ExpressCredit Zambia, a registered and licensed microfinance institution.

The professional life of Chilufya Mutale started in 2012 at FINCA, where she was the head of the local branch. She then went to ExpressCredit, and later became the Director and Consultant for Financial Services at BlueOrange in South Africa. She was one of 14 entrepreneurs selected in September for the VC4A Venture Showcase Africa 2022. She was connected with top venture capitalists as mentors and presented a pitch for her startup at the 9th Africa Early Stage Investor Summit held November 2-4. She is also one of the EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women 2022.

Chilufya Mutale is among the top 100 Zambian women who are taking the lead and inspiring transformation in 2022. She has been shortlisted for the Woman Innovator of the Year award at the Africa Tech Festival Awards 2022.

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The growing number of fintechs in Africa is comforting many countries in their ambition to develop cashless economies. In Ethiopia, innovative solutions are being shaped to accelerate this development.

One of them is ArifPay, a fintech solution developed by a local startup of the same name. The solution is an app that allows users to transfer, save and receive money directly with their mobile phones. The fintech was founded in 2021 by Habtamu Tadesse (pictured, center) and has already raised over $3.5 million in expansion funds. With his startup, the entrepreneur seeks to provide convenient, innovative, safe, and secure electronic payment processing services and platforms for the Ethiopian market.

“ArifPay aspires to make a significant contribution to the financial sector by offering digital-based payments services that meet the needs of consumers and merchants towards cash-lite transactions in line with the national agenda of the digital economy,” Habtamu Tadesse said. “We also believe ArifPay will support the country’s aspiration towards building a digital economy by empowering businesses and entrepreneurs who are looking for digital payment solutions to digitalize their business and services deliveries,” he pointed out.

The app is available on both android and iOS systems. Merchants using the app will be able to make electronic invoices, record taxes, and perform 100% cashless transactions with their clients if they also use ArifPay.

In addition to the mobile and web platforms, the fintech has developed a mobile point-of-sale system that will allow ATM cardholders to conduct electronic transactions on smartphones.

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Published in Solutions

It is sometimes challenging to send money to relatives in Africa because of the high fees charged by transfer companies. The situation has improved in recent years, with tech entrepreneurs developing innovative solutions to address the issue.

Yalla Xash is a fintech solution developed by a Moroccan eponymous startup. It allows users to quickly send money to Canada, Senegal, and Côte d’Ivoire, via its mobile app.

Using its mobile app -Android and iOS apps, registered users can send funds, which will be available for withdrawals in cash within 30 seconds. For bank transfers, it takes a max of 48 hours to clear.

The startup claims its withdrawal fees, which start from CAD1.99 (US$1.5), are up to six times lower than the competition. It always sends SMSs to notify recipients of incoming transactions and the details of the specific transactions. Also, once the funds sent are withdrawn it sends SMSs to senders informing them of the successful withdrawal.  

Currently, PlayStore data shows its Android app has been downloaded more than 5,000 times. After the Covid-19 pandemic, it recorded a 35% rise in transaction volume and is steadily gaining ground in Africa. It has over 4,300 pickup points in Morocco. In June 2021, it announced the raise of MAD6 million (US$560,000) from the Maroc Numeric Fund, which was seduced by its solution and social impact.  

Adoni Conrad Quenum

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He launched his fintech startup after a rich professional experience accumulated while working for national and international firms. His ambition, through the startup, is to streamline payments in Africa. 

Nader Abdelrazik (photo) is the co-founder and CEO of MoneyHash, a fintech startup founded in 2020. With MoneyHash, he built an API that allows large organizations operating in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) to collect payments. 

He explains that “MoneyHash’s main goal is to give businesses in the region the ability to upgrade their tech especially regarding such a sensitive piece: payments.”  

“We aim to be the leader when it comes to building and maintaining a payment infrastructure, and to do so, our impact has to be empowerment and growth of companies that use us,” he adds. 

In February 2022, Moneyhash secured US$3 million in pre-seed financing, to expand in Sub-Saharan Africa. On October 20, 2022, it announced the launch of its digital solutions in new markets, including Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa.

Nader Abdelrazik, who nurtures great ambitions for the fintech startup, wants to support that growth plan by contributing his rich professional experience, which started back in 2008. That year, he was a summer trainee in the quality department of the pharmaceutical technology company GlaxoSmithKline. Two years later, he joined Siemens as a trainee business developer before being hired, in 2011, as an entrepreneurship head coordinator by the Egyptian non-profit organization INJAZ Egypt.

From 2012 to 2014, he was a research assistant at the Nile University and a strategy project manager for Meshka Co-Learning Space, from 2014 to 2015. In 2016, he worked as a business designer for Conservation International Suriname and the global expansion consultant for  Kiron Open Higher Education. Then, the following year, he taught systems thinking at the University of Berkeley. 

He later became a diversity and inclusion consultant for Microsoft before joining Think.iT as the head of product innovation. From 2018 to 2019, he worked as a strategy lead hardware builder Elkrem. He then became the interim executive director of the Global Fellow Network of the American Middle East Network for Dialogue at Stanford (AMENDS) from August to November 2019.

He also worked as a business manager for fintech startup Xpay, until 2020, before getting recruited as a business design consultant, by Kiron Open Higher Education. 

Melchior Koba

Published in TECH STARS

The developer of the innovative tool is passionate about digital technologies given their importance in helping address key issues.  He sees Nkwa as a way to improve the population’s financial discipline. 

Nkwa is a web and mobile - available for Android and iOS devices- financial solution developed and launched by Cameroonian tech entrepreneur Akwo Ashangndowah in 2020. It allows users to regularly save money directly from their mobile phones simply and more safely for their future projects.  

To start saving with Nkwa, users need to register and set specific targets, including duration or overall amount to save. Once the targets are set, the user can start saving via mobile money.

Like bank savings accounts, Nkwa offers a yearly 3% interest rate for amounts saved. In case of an emergency, users can withdraw the amounts they saved without waiting for their set targets or amounts. However, in that case, the startup applies a 5% penalty on the amount withdrawn. 

In 2021, Akwo Ashangndowah explained that Nkwa helps users have a clear view and control over their money and the things they want to achieve with the savings since they are not required to make big savings. 

Nkwa is an initiative of Maealth Tech Limited, an innovative company founded and led from 2015 to 2020 by Akwo Ashangndowah, who has also worked in the health technology. In October 2022, the startup was selected as one of 15 African fintech startups that will participate in the fifth edition of "CATAPULT: Inclusion Africa" organized by the Luxembourg House of Financial Technologies (LHoFT). The start-up will also participate in the Arch Summit taking place on October 26-27, 2022.  

Melchior Koba

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