Goldman Sachs-backed fintech Jumo appoints Joe Mucheru as president


Former ICT CS Joe Mucheru. FILE PHOTO | NMG

A Goldman Sachs-backed South African financial services start-up has appointed former ICT Cabinet secretary Joe Mucheru as the president of the company to rev up its expansion plans on the continent.

Jumo, founded in 2015, said in a statement that Mr Mucheru will support the company to deliver its growth goals, navigate the regulatory landscape, and build the firm’s presence across the African continent.

The firm, which is valued at Sh49.7 billion ($400 million), offers financial services to entrepreneurs and businesses in emerging markets. It offers credit and saving products to customers as well as infrastructure for telcos, banks, fintech and e-commerce platforms.  

“We are honoured to be able to welcome Joe to JUMO. He brings an invaluable perspective given his experience as an entrepreneur, Google executive and regulator,” Jumo founder Andrew Watkins-Ball said. 

Former top officials in government are expected to cash in on their time in office by picking up lucrative jobs in the private sectors, who are attracted to the honchos’ networks and information.

Former President Uhuru Kenyatta tapped Mr Mucheru to head ICT ministry from Google where he was serving as the regional lead for sub-Sahara Africa and country manager for Kenya in 2015.

Jumo in December announced its plans to launch in Cameroon in the first quarter of 2023, followed by Nigeria and Benin in the second quarter. It has also lined up new products for Ghana and Uganda markets.

The former CS held different positions in the corporate world, especially in the tech industry, before he joined the former administration. 

He was previously the head of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) for Google, based in Nairobi, serving as Google’s first SSA employee. He joined Google in 2007 where he led the delivery of strategy, business planning and operations and was key to setting up Google’s presence on the continent. 

Prior to Google, he worked at Wananchi Online, the parent company of internet service provider Zuku, a company he co-founded in 1999.

He has held board positions at the M-Pesa Foundation Academy, Bitpesa (now Aza Group), an international money transfer platform, and GiveDirectly, a non-profit allowing donors to provide direct cash transfers to those in need. He is also the former Chairman of the African Telecommunications Union.

Jumo has raised more than $200 million in equity and debt rounds from backers such as Goldman Sachs, Brook Asset Management, Finnfund, Gemcorp, Proparco and Leapfrog since founder and CEO Andrew Watkins-Ball launched the company in 2015.

The fintech is present in six African markets — Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia and Ivory Coast — and South Asian country Pakistan with Cape Town, Nairobi, Porto and London serving as its main tech hubs.

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