Four Kenyan fintechs win spot in Amazon training


The logo of tech giant Amazon at the distribution centre in Moenchengladbach, western Germany. FILE PHOTO | AFP

Four Kenyan fintech startups are among 25 from Africa selected to participate in the inaugural Amazon-backed FinTech Africa Accelerator cohort, a 10-week programme that will see the newbies receive technical review workshop sessions, up to $25,000 (Sh3.5 million) in technical credits, and one-on-one mentorship from industry leaders.

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The four — Chumz, Hela Money, Kiotapay and Mauzo, which are in the pre-seed and seed stages — were chosen from more than 500 applicants as part of a startup accelerator programme run by Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Chuumz is a money-saving application that helps users develop a saving culture by creating a system that defines finance goals while Hela Money is a blockchain firm that facilitates the global transfer of digital assets.

Kiotapay is a property management system that facilitates rent and amenities billing, collection and analysis whereas Mauzo is a business analytics platform that helps micro, small and medium enterprises to improve customer acquisition and retention strategies.

The programme is set to commence in June and will incorporate 21 other firms from Uganda, Nigeria, Egypt, Ghana, South Africa and Cameroon.

Among those selected are players in micro-lending, cryptocurrency, e-payment, global remittance and invoice management sub-sectors.

“At AWS, we’re thrilled to be a part of Africa’s digital transformation, making core financial services accessible to more individuals and businesses. We believe that anyone, regardless of their location, should be able to access innovative technologies and realise their dreams,” said the startup segment lead at AWS Napa Onwusah.

Among other major players in the African fintech industry backing the programme include Africa Fintech Summit, Unicorn Growth Capital, Lateral Frontiers VC, and First Circle among others.

The initiative comes at a time when the continent’s fintech ecosystem is experiencing rapid growth, with the latest McKinsey forecast projecting the revenue generated by sector startups on the continent to grow to $30 billion (Sh4.1 trillion) by 2025.

Kenya has emerged as a leader, not only in Africa but also in the global sphere, in mobile money and home to perhaps the world’s most well-known example of fintech-based solutions – M-Pesa.

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Apart from mobile money transfer platforms, other emerging fintech components in the country in recent years have included digital lenders, payment service providers and cryptocurrency technology implementers.

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