Driven by the success of M-PESA the platform has recorded the highest number of mobile money transfer transactions worth Sh1.4 trillion as of April 2018 unveiling the great opportunity that lies in the Digital Financial Service (DFS) Sector.
Setting the pace for the sector, banks have moved to innovate around digital financial services giving a boost to Fintech growth. This has also seen great Fintech innovations evolve as a result of opportunities created by mobile money and the presence of unserved markets in the financial chain.
However, based on the strong foundation of mobile money in categories such as insurtech, crypto-currency and blockchain, group savings, comparison, and business solutions there is still an outstanding opportunity presented in Kenya.
In July a report by WeeTracker revealed that in only six months the African start-up ecosystem had seen an influx of USD 168.6 million across 118 disclosed companies outstripping the 2017 annual funding mark of USD 167.7 million. What is amazing is that four of the top ten start-ups that had the highest funding operated in the Fintech Space.
Now let’s take a closer look at some of the top finTech companies in Kenya- the hotbed of innovation. Here are some Kenyan companies that we think are leading the Fintech frontier. Check them out and let us know if you agree with us:
Cellullant is a digital payments service provider that prompts, collects, settles and reconciles payments in real time using mobile wallets to empower farmers across Africa as well as powering transactions for millions of merchants and utility facilities across Africa. It provides a mobile payment ecosystem connecting consumers, merchants, banks, etc.
In May this year the company raised $47.5 million in its Series C round—one of the largest for a solely Africa-focused venture-funded company.
Founded in Nigeria and Kenya in 2004, Cellulant has since expanded to nine other African countries and around 12% of Africa’s mobile consumers can make payments using its solutions. Its reach is down to partnerships with over 90 banks and several mobile payments platforms across the continent.
Branch International is a microlending platform that allows customers access instant loan via their smartphones in a quick and easy way.
Since its launch in 2015 the Fintech company has recorded an exponential growth over the years and has so far disbursed more than $100 million, and distributed more than 6 million loans. The company which is an alumnus of Nairobi Garage, currently has over 1 million users in Kenya and issues tens of thousands of loans in Kenya every day.
In July this year, Branch International raised Ksh 350 million capital investment based on a commercial paper issuance that was arranged by Barium Capital, a Centum-owned capital-raising advisory firm. This was the second time the company issued commercial paper in the Kenyan market. Last year, the company raised Ksh 200 million through another commercial paper issuance. Branch has since partnered with VISA to expand its services deeper into the region.
GrassRoots Bima is an insurtech company established to meet the insurance needs of the mass market through innovative inclusive insurance. The company helps address and promote financial inclusion using innovative insurance products and services. The company has a platform- WazInsure- that rides on a SaaS platform and manages the entire insurance value chain from underwriting to claims payments to ensure optimum performance and efficiency.
Established in 2016, the company was placed at position 76 by financial services firm KPMG Fintech and investment firm H2 Ventures in the 2017 Fintech100 leading global fintech innovators report. The Fintech100 report, represents the most innovative companies, creating products and services at the juncture of technology and financial services.
Bitsoko is a mobile wallet that implements blockchain technology in a bid to both remove the cost of transferring money between two individuals and increase access to payment services. The startup’s approach integrates blockchain with mobile money, allowing funds to be sent from the developed world through bitcoin and received as mobile money.
In 2015, Bitsoko received a US$100,000 grant through the Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) initiative of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
JamboPay is an online payment gateway that allows users to securely make and receive payments through mobile phone over internet. Through JamboPay, shoppers can pay for goods and services online while sellers can receive payments for purchases made online.
It enables users to pay for bills, fees,make donations and other payments over the internet or on mobile phone. JamboPay allows for mobile payments such as M-PESA, Airtel Money, Bank payments, Visa and MasterCard Debit and Credit cards.
The online payment services provider platform is also behind the automation of services in Nairobi county. As of last year JamboPay network had over 10,000 agents across Kenya.
JamboPay provides payments to over 3,500 organisations in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda and has over 1.8 million subscribers to its e-wallet.
Umati Capital was launched in September 2012 and is a non-bank financial institution focused on the provision of credit and related payment technologies.
In 2015 Umati Capital won the annual Zambezi Prize for financial inclusion, walking away with US$100,000 in prize money. In 2016 The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) also made a $500,000 grant to be disbursed over a 3 year period to Umati Capital to support smallholder farmers under Umati Capital’s Supply Chain Financing (SCF) product, which is accessible via a software application. The App is called Umati Application and is only available to smallholder farmers.
The company which is also an alumnus of Nairobi Garage was also named a winner of the Citi Mobile Challenge, walking away with US$25,000.
Formerly known as Mkopo Rahisi, Tala is a micro-credit loan smartphone application that offers users instant loans of as low as Ksh 2000 to a maximum loan limit of Ksh 50,000. To date the application has over 100,000 downloads on the app store.
The Mobile credit firm also raised more than Sh3.09 billion ($30 million) in new capital from existing and new investors to finance expansion into new markets last year.
Tala currently operates in East Africa and Southeast Asia with its main top markets being Kenya and the Philippines.
Abacus builds web and mobile software to help investors across the globe access African financial markets. The company makes it possible for both local and international investors to research and invest, any time, any where. In 2016, Joel Macharia founder and CEO of Abacus was among Kenyans named in the Forbes Africa 30 under 30 most promising entrepreneurs list.
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