Global payments giant, Visa has selected 23 startups from nine African countries for the inaugural cohort of the Visa Africa Fintech Accelerator, and four of them are from Ghana.
The four from Ghana are The Blue Pengiun, OZÉ, AgroCenta and Affinity Africa. This makes Ghana country with the second largest number of participants in this inaugural cohort, with Nigeria having the most participants – 6.
The remaining 13 participating startups in this cohort were selected from Kenya – 3, Morocco – 3, South Africa – 3, while Egypt, Uganda, Zambia and Tunisia have one startup each onboard.
Visa is committing $1 billion over the next five years to this program, which they are running in partnership with Plug and Play, one of the largest Venture Capitals (VCs) in Sillicon Valley.
At the end of the program, Visa, Plug and Play, and other VCs will come together and selectively invest in the startups.
The selected startups will also benefit from 1:1 mentoring from experts and founders in the ecosystem from Africa, Visa-specific training, partnership opportunities and undisclosed funding. Additionally, they will enjoy an array of product perks and discounts from more than 100 vendors worth $200,000. This includes credits from Google Cloud and HubSpot.
This investment will be very important for the 23 startups, particularly for The Blu Penguin from Ghana, which is most likely the only bootstrapped business with no outside investors till date, but is profitably running and scaling fast.
Meet the four from Ghana:
- The Blu Penguin
The Blu Penguin is everywhere across Ghana enabling merchants to accept payments in their stores. They deliver an in-store Point of Sale (PoS) system, which enables merchants to accept payments from various channels through a unified app.
Founded by Tenu Awoonor in 2018, the fintech startup is positioning itself as the “Square for Africa,” akin to Jack Dorsey’s widely recognised payment platform.
OZÉ is a Ghanaian fintech startup that provides digital recordkeeping tools with embedded finance products to medium and small businesses.
With about $3.7 million in funding, OZÉ which was founded by Meghan McCormick reported a client base of over 125,000 business owners in Ghana and Nigeria as of last year.
Launched in 2016, AgroCenta runs a mobile merchant platform that offers market information, storage and delivery solutions, as well as financial services to smallholder farmers in Ghana. The Techstars-backed startup has raised about $1.9 million in funding.
- Affinity Africa
Founded by Tarek Mouganie, Affinity provides banking products to the underserved and unbanked. Its proprietary tech platform is designed to accommodate both digital natives and users with low fidelity, allowing the fintech to deliver cost-effective 24/7 banking services.
The fintech startup commenced operations by acquiring a microfinance bank in Ghana in February 2020 and subsequently received a license upgrade from the Bank of Ghana in March 2022.
Commenting o why Visa is investing in this accelerator program, Otto Williams, Head of Partnerships, Products and Solutions, Central Europe, Middle East and Africa, Visa said “Africa’s fintech community is at the forefront of payments innovation and connecting more of the unbanked with access to the digital economy.”
Now meet the 19 other participating startups and the countries they are from:
Nigeria – 6
Launched in 2022 by Segun Adeyemi, Olamide Sobowale and Gbekeloluwa Olufotebi, Anchor provides APIs, dashboards and tools that help developers easily embed and build banking products. This includes APIs for creating bank accounts, funds transfers, savings products, issuing cards and offering loans.
The Nigerian fintech was backed by Y Combinator last year. Since its launch, Anchor has raised about $3.4 million, according to BD Funding Tracker.
Dojah is also a YC-backed startup. Founded in 2021 by Tobi Ololade and Ayomide Oso, this startup, based in Lagos, has one singular objective; to impact more lives through technology by offering a comprehensive Know Your Customer (KYC) and digital onboarding solution. This solution is tailored for organisations seeking to expand their operations across the African continent.
Recently, Dojah launched EasyDetect, a fraud prevention product, to assist digital businesses in recognising and thwarting dishonest practices on their platforms.
Mobile money agents function as human ATMs, yet a significant majority, nine out of ten, face challenges with liquidity for cash withdrawals and deposits. Moni addresses this issue by providing low-interest loans to mobile money agent communities, employing a referral and trust vetting system.
The YC-backed startup was founded in 2021 by Femi Iromini and Dapo Sobayo.
Founded in 2014 by Timbo Drayson, OkHi’s products allow banks, fintechs and businesses to collect and verify customers’ addresses through their smartphones, replacing the need for utility bills and in-person interactions.
Since its launch, the fintech startup has raised about $3 million in funding.
- Orda Africa
Orda is an African restaurant cloud operating system provider. The startup was founded by Guy Futi, Fikayo Akinwale, Mark Edomwande, Kunle Ogungbamila, and Namir El-Khouri, in 2020, modelled after the US, market leaders, Toast.
Backed by Quona Capital, FinTech Collective and other leading local and foreign investors, Orda has secured at least $4.5 million in funding.
Traction Apps is a Nigerian startup that is building the next generation of payment solutions and business tools to help power the growth and operations of merchants and SMEs in Africa.
Kenya – 3
Kenyan startup, Duhqa is a B2B platform for retail distribution of consumer goods in FMCG, cold chain and pharmaceuticals. The Techstars-backed startup has raised about $1.1 million since it was founded in 2021 by Victor Maina, Davis Angwenyi and Dudu Moilwa.
Power, founded by Brian Dempsey and Chandra Singh in 2020, allows workers to take control of their financial health by making a holistic set of financial services available to employees and gig workers across Sub-Saharan Africa. In February, the fintech startup raised a $3 million seed from DOB Equity alongside Bolt by QED Investors, Quona Capital, Zephyr Acorn, and Norrsken Accelerator.
YC-backed HR payroll provider, Workpay was founded by Paul Kimani and Jackson Kungu in 2019. The startup offers tools that enable its clients to pay salaries in local currencies across Africa (and outside the continent through the startup’s partners), file taxes and process employee benefits.
In February, Workpay raised a pre-Series A bringing its total funding to over $4.8 million. The startup has also participated in the Google Black Founders Fund.
Morocco – 3
Moroccan B2B e-commerce and retail startup, Chari operates a mobile app that connects small retailers in these two countries to FMCG multinationals and local manufacturers, allowing them to order and get products in less than 24 hours.
Founded by Imad Bouhmadi in 2020, PayTic streamlines the back-office operations and risk control of digital payments for banks and fintechs.
Weego is a mobility company that offers a variety of transportation options and solutions to people in Africa, starting from Morocco. The startup was founded by Saad Jittou and Mor Niane.
South Africa – 3
YC-backed Floatpays is an on-demand wage access platform that helps employees access, spend, save and manage their money.
The South African fintech was born in 2018. It allows users to invest in leading cash and equity funds in just a few minutes.
It is an all-in-one money management walletthat enables South African residents to send and receive funds.
Egypt – 1
Launched in 2021, Sympl enables customers to shop and pay later, with no interest. The Egyptian fintech startup was co-founded by Mohamed El-Feky, Yasmine Mohmed Henna and Karim Tawfik.
Uganda – 1
Launched in 2019, Eversend is a payments platform offering cross-border payments, virtual cards, currency exchange, and crypto buying and selling. The Techstars-backed startup has raised about $1.7 million in funding.
Zambia – 1
PremierCredit is a fintech startup that operates as an online microlending and Investment platform in emerging markets in Southern Africa.
Tunisia – 1
Konnect offers payment links by SMS, email, Messenger or even WhatsApp: its platform brings together all payment methods in Tunisia which allows users to be paid in complete security.