The Top 5 Most Impactful African Fintechs of 2021

Sourced from Innovation Village.

There have been several changes in the economy and structure of African nations over the last year. Several people were obliged to stay at home due to the epidemic, COVID-19, and go primarily cashless.

Africa’s Fintech came to the rescue, providing Africans with cutting-edge technologies to access the best financial services available. Although the previous year had been challenging and put a lot of pressure on these fintech firms, they have remained strong and tenacious in meeting Africa’s needs.

Africa faces several economic challenges in providing financial services to its citizens. In this aspect, the growth of fintech companies across the continent has aided in reaching the continent’s local population, enhancing the quality of financial services they receive. In fact, according to Techpoint Africa, the fintech sector accounted for 54 per cent of startup investments in 2019.

Fintech exists to fill the gaps that traditional financial services have been unable to bridge. These Fintech firms can reach out to the unbanked and underbanked, bringing financial services to the people.

Fintech companies have emerged as significant actors in Africa’s financial-economic revolution, and many of them are worth keeping an eye on.

The following are the top fintech firms working to bridge the financial services gap in Africa’s various demographics.

1. Flutterwave

Flutterwave was founded in 2016 in Lagos, Nigeria and its current total funding stands at $64.7M.  Flutterwave operates an API that allows individuals and firms to process credit cards and alternative payment options available in the African continent. It focuses on connecting local and foreign businesses and service providers to their customers.

It allows these businesses and service providers to receive payments from their customers efficiently, and it’s currently active in 150 countries. Sellers can receive payments in USD, Naira, Euro, Yuan and GBP.  The business headquarters is located in San Francisco, CA. Apart from being a payment getaway, in 2020, Flutterwave rolled out a new feature that allows businesses to set their store directly on the Flutterwave platform. The firm has partnered with notable enterprises such as Visa, Alipay, Worldpay in its quest to provide financial services to Africans.

2. Opay

Opay was founded in 2018 in Lagos, Nigeria. Its current total funding stands at $170M. Opay provides a payment gateway for sellers and offers loans, remittances, and even ride-hailing services. Opay was founded by Opera Software, one of the leading web browsers and search engines. However, Opay is not registered under Opera but as a separate entity, with Opera owning one-fifth of its shares.

Opay facilitates an e-wallet that enables mobile top-up, P2P transactions, food &grocery delivery, transportation, loans, logistics, among several others. Opay also rolled out Olla Andriod smartphones in 2020. The firm also rolled out a new feature CreditMe, an overdraft service directed to students and small business owners in their mid-20s and 30s.

Opay has also attained an international money transfer license and recently announced a collaboration with WorldRemit. The collaboration allows persons with an Opay wallet to receive funds from over 50 countries easily. The covid pandemic may have limited some of its services, such as its transportation and logistics, but Opay has focused on its financial services since then.

Opay has over 5 million users and, in August 2021, was able to raise $400million in a funding round led by Softbank Vision Fund. The company is currently $2billion.

3. Yellow Card Financial

Yellow Card was founded in 2016 and has its headquarters in Atlanta, U.S. Yellow Card is a Pan-African crypto exchange currently operational in 13 countries and consistently expanding its reach to other countries. Yellow Card offers diverse crypto products and services. Yellow Card’s mission is financial inclusion, and it is dedicated to making crypto and other financial services easily accessible to Africans. With Yellow Card, Africans can send remittances, make payments, and preserve the value of their assets from the constant depreciation of their currencies in many African countries. This is something that a lot of cryptocurrency sites already do.

On the other hand, Yellow Card seeks to set itself apart by developing products that do not require customers to be crypto experts. In September 2021, Yellow Card announced a $15 million funding raise led by Valar Ventures, Third Prime and Castle Island Ventures.

4. Yoco

Yoco was founded in 2013 in Cape Town, South Africa. Its current funding stands at $ 83 million Yoco has processed over US$2 billion in card payments, and the platform is now the preferred digital payments solution for over 200 000 small and micro merchants across South Africa, processing more than US$1billion in payments per year. Yoco recently launched Yoco Khumo, South Africa’s most affordable, smart card machine and capable of processing Tap, Chip & Pin, Swipe, and digital mobile payments in under 3 seconds.

Yoco allows merchants, anywhere, to get affordable financial tools, thereby increasing growth and profitability prospects for them and the economy. One way they have done this is through a partnership with over 700 retail stores nationwide, to allow more merchants access to affordable and efficient electronic card machines and financial tools to start and run their businesses.

To support this growth trajectory, the multinational company employs over 300 employees globally, with plans already well underway to increase that staff complement to more than 400 by the end of 2022, with over 40% of that being tech hires.

5. Palm Pay

Palm Pay was founded in 2019 in Lagos, Nigeria. Palmpay was founded after a seed round of $40 million was led by Trassion, a Chinese Mobile phone maker. It created a unique partnership with Infinx, Techno and Intel with its app pre-installed on these devices. During its initial launch, it was able to register 100,000 users and processed one million transactions. Palmpay is also operational in Ghana and boasts over 1 million users.

Palmpay has also initiated a strategic partnership with Visa. Its services include Mobile Payments, P2P transactions. Palmpay currently offers users cashback rewards for using its payment platform. Users can also earn PalmPoints from referrals, deposits, and transfers. Currently, Palmpay is working towards onboarding merchants on its platforms so that customers can pay for services via its platform.

Edited by Luis Monzon
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