Hottest fintech startups to look out for in 2019

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Hottest fintech startups to look out for in 2019

There are a number of impressive African fintech startups emerging from the continent, and 2019 could be a very important year for their growth and success.

From mobile money transfer apps to tech firms determined to help users save, these tech startups come from all over Africa.

IT News Africa takes a look at some of the fastest growing fintech startups to look out for in 2019.


Founded in 2016 by Matthew Elan Smith, Ndabenhle Junior Ngulube and Marnus van Heerden, Pineapple is a digital insurer, aims to decrease costs, cap profits and deter fraud in an effort to create more value from an insurance policy than the traditional model. This peer-to-peer insurance company, recently announced that it has been accepted into Google’s Launchpad accelerator and just a few months after that the Johannesburg start-up had been accepted into the US-based Hartford InsurTech Hub. Other highlights include securing R5.2-million in seed funding from Lireas Holdings, the strategic investment arm of Hannover-Re Group Africa, in return for a 25% stake in the business.


Founded in 2017 by Andile Maseko, Kamogelo Kekana and Tebogo Mokwena, Akiba Digital has found the launched an AI-powered financial literacy platform aimed at millennials. Akiba is building a data-driven personalised financial marketplace, initially offering two digital solutions.

Their first solution, available for download, is a gamified savings tool (mobile app) that allows users to save towards their lifestyle goals and get rewarded for it. This is coupled with a rainy-day-fund pre-configured for users where a portion of their contributions to their active goals is passively saved to serve as a cushion for their future. The second solution launching soon will be a web-based financial literacy platform that repurposes existing content created by financial service providers. For corporate clients, this will act as a financial habits research tool and for millennials, a financial education distribution platform.


Franc is taking the traditional stokvel savings and investments concept digital with its new smartphone app. Launched under Discovery Health, Franc is South Africa’s cheapest way to invest. This platform allows stokvel members to invest in money market and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) free. In 2018, the self-insurance platform was selected as the best startup in Johannesburg for its innovative sustainable solution by Seedstars. Franc’s two investment options – the Allan Gray Money Market Fund and Satrix 40 – were selected because of their credibility and low cost. Stokvel members simply choose how much they would like to invest, how often, and how they would like to split their investment.


Prospa is a mobile savings wallet with no monthly fees and no required minimum account balance.

Founded by Dhanyal Davidson and Carl Ngwenya, Prospa is a micro-savings solution for low-income earning South Africans. It allows savers to use their cash to purchase savings vouchers at traders. Vouchers come in R5, R10, R20 and R50. Vouchers are distributed into informal and formal stores across the country using third party distribution services. Vouchers entitle users to a set amount of savings which are deposited into their mobi savings account. Prospa makes its money from an upfront deposit fee.

Nisa Finance

Founded in 2016, by Thando Hlongwane, Tekane Ledimo and Sinqobile Mashalaba, Nisa Finance is a invoice financing platform that enables financiers to issue invoice-backed loans to small businesses quickly and affordable. In October 2018, Nisa Finance, was among the eight local fintech start-ups awarded a total of R16 million in funding by AlphaCode.

The NISA platform also provides a credit-scoring decision based on the data collected from the SMEs application, allowing SMEs to have their applications approved within less than 24 hours.


Invoice Worx is a working capital financing company aimed at providing access to a business network that helps businesses. Founded in 2015 by Mdu Thabethe and Siya Ntutela, this InvoiceWorx is an inventory financing platform that gives small retailers access to lines of credit from suppliers.

The founders launched this platform to provide credit to the financially excluded market using a unique credit risk assessment to help SME’s that face great challenges in accessing trade finance with an unmet demand of US $120 billion in Africa (one-third of the continent’s trade finance market) and US$700 billion in developing Asia. Invoiceworx sources credit lines with big suppliers then offer them to small retailers. The firm then makes money by negotiating trade discounts with its suppliers on the inventory sold to small retailers. Invoiceworx has now on board one big supplier and will be onboarding 10 more suppliers as it moves towards signing up 1000 small retailer in six months.

By Neo Sesinye
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