After its first stop of The Search – Africa, the global startup roadshow by the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) moved across the UK and Central Europe, before returning for its second leg in Africa.
This second edition featured six new African fintech startups competing for a spot in the Fintech100. The Fintech100 will be featured at the upcoming Fintech Abu Dhabi festival in November this year.
Startups at The Search – Africa Stop 2 included Ewarren, a mobile payment and e-wallet solution, investing app Franc, and digital banking platform Kwara. It also featured Mipango, an advisory personal finance app, buy now pay later (BNPL) company Motito, and data aggregation, integration and analytics solution Onebase.
Winners of The Search – Africa Stop 2
Ewarren, Côte d’Ivoire
Ewarren’s proprietary mobile payment and e-wallet solution helps to connect Africa’s informal economy with formal financial institutions. The startup looks to bank the unbanked and facilitate credit lines.
Industry: Digital wallet
Founders: Karamoko Camara
Founding Date: 2020
Franc, South Africa
Franc is a retail investments and robo-advisory app providing access to cash and equity funds. The app allows users to create financial goals and track their progress.
Founders: Sebastian Patel, Thomas Brennan
Founding Date: 2018
Motito offers a BNPL product that enables small businesses to offer interest-free credit options for existing customers at the point of sale.
Founders: Tobi Martins, Betty Blavo
Founding Date: 2019
Africa is a credibility market
In Africa, South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria are known to be home to more comprehensive fintech ecosystems as compared to the rest of the continent. At the same time, Vusi Thembekwayo, CEO of MyGrowthFund Venture Partners, noted in his address that economic opportunities in the East African corridor – Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda – are opening up.
He further added that Africa is a credibility market. Finding credible partners that know to navigate the regulatory landscape in the country is essential for global capital providers looking to invest in Africa. These investors also need to take a long term view to betting on opportunities in Africa, Thembekwayo said.
Further, unlike their Western counterparts that tend to heavily source capital-based support, African fintech founders extensively focus on market access, access to expertise and mentorship, and understanding how to grow a scalable business in Africa, when looking for investors, Thembekwayo continued.
“Payments, insurtech, lending, and savings and investments, are the most commonly addressed areas in terms of innovation, with payments being the most prominent.
From a payments perspective what we’ve seen is that a lot of startups have identified quite a bit of friction in the way in which customers are being served,”
said Kagiso Mothibi, Head – Fintech Unit, Financial Sector Conduct Authority during his keynote at the The Search – Africa Stop 2.
Apart from payments, innovation in customer data – how it is being used, and how it is being supplemented with alternative sources – is also enabling customers to access lending solutions that are traditionally closed off, Mothibi added.
In terms of the key players currently dominating the fintech landscape in Africa, Mothibi said,
“The players that are really starting to seize on this are telco players as well as upstart fintechs, building on the growth in smartphone penetration.”