Kenyan #fintech startup Kwara won the best pitch at the just concluded Norrsken Impact Accelerator program.
Speaking on their win, Kwara’s CEO Cynthia Wandia said, “This was a truly transformative experience. We received unique insights from unicorn founders and top investors and applied them to our own growth trajectory.
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The sincerity, deep industry knowledge, and vast network of the Norrsken Accelerator stand out. We are certain the program and its startups will rise to redefine what impact startups can achieve.”
Kihlmark Oskar, the Head of Startup and Growth at Nordea said, “Combined with a good business idea, Kwara delivered a pitch with both high energy and clear message.”
Norrsken VC is a Ksh. 16 billion (€125 million) impact VC fund investing in the best entrepreneurs that solve societal issues using technology.
The vision for the Norrsken Impact Accelerator is to create change through investing in the next generation business models where the impact is a result of the core operations and impact and profit are simultaneous.
Kwara offers a secure, simple and affordable digital banking platform for savings and credit cooperatives.
Backed by investors across Africa, Asia, Europe and the US, today Kwara serves over 50,000 members in Kenya, South-Africa and The Philippines and with over Ksh. 4.4 billion ($40 million) in monthly transactions on the platform.
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In May, Kwara was among nineteen other startups from Sweden, the US, India, Rwanda, Ghana, Nigeria, and more that were selected to participate in the Norrsken Impact Accelerator in Europe’s unicorn capital: Stockholm, Sweden. Out of the 19 startups, 11 of them were from Africa & four were from Kenya.
The Norrsken Impact Accelerator program aimed at helping startups scale during an 8-week sprint, hosted at Norrsken House Stockholm.
These startups received mentorship and tailored support from serial entrepreneurs, unicorn founders, business leaders, and topic experts.
The program concluded with a pitch in front of 150+ top international investors such as Accel and Norrsken VC.
There were applications from over 120 countries. This places Kwara in the top 1% of impact startups across the globe.
Of late, Kwara has been getting accelerated, a lot. In the last couple of months alone it has taken part in the Norrsken Impact Accelerator and the NINJA Accelerator powered by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
Back in 2019, it took part in the Google Launchpad Africa program, and that same year it was named in the Inclusive Fintech 50.
In an interview with Disrupt Africa, in May 2021, Kwara CEO, Cynthia Wandia said that Kwara was now looking to deepen revenue in Kenya, its “beachhead market” where 95 percent of its business lies, as well as start looking to moves into further markets in ASEAN and Latin America.
The startup has cash in the bank to help it scale, has secured backing from the likes of German venture builder Finparx, Kepple Africa Ventures, Bright Continent Capital, and European angel investors that include the COO of Google UK.
The startup charges a monthly subscription fee, ranging from US$300 per month to US$10,000 per month, depending on the cooperative needs, but Wandia said it has to work hard to earn the trust of customers.
Started in 2018 in Kenya, Kwara aim is to enable the world’s 3 billion underserved to become financially healthy. Kwara offers a secure, simple and affordable digital banking platform for savings and credit cooperatives and their members, who are often excluded by traditional banks.
Last year Kwara launched Kwara Pronto digital banking platform in an effort to help SACCOs at risk of disruption from the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) to quickly go digital, remain in operation and continue serving members