Kenya’s Chura launches Money service

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Kenyan SIM-swapping startup Chura has launched its Chura Paypal to Mobile Money service, the first of a range of offerings to be rolled out under the Chura Money suite of services.

Chura Money is an integrated, easy-to-use package developed by the Chura team based at the C4DLab incubator at the University of Nairobi, with the company saying the new products were in line with the company’s vision of allowing interoperability across different services.

The service allows a user to withdraw money from a PayPal account to any mobile phone instantly, while also allowing users to transfer funds from a credit or debit card to any M-Pesa account. The service will also allow people in the diaspora to send money to friends and family in Kenya directly using their mobile phones.

The startup has seen strong growth in uptake and revenues as it looks to woo investors to aid its expansion. Its service allows such subscribers to leap from one network to another, through the transfer of airtime between SIMs and the purchase of one network’s airtime using the mobile money service of another.

Meanwhile, its “Airtime for Cash” service allows the conversion of airtime into mobile money credit, while its bulk airtime service allows the sending of airtime to many phone numbers across different networks.

“Chura is a startup that aims to ease interoperability across the different networks,” business strategist Samuel Njuguna told Disrupt Africa.

“Kenya is a multi-SIM environment and each service provider has its own unique strengths, for example Network A is good for data, Network B is excellent in voice calls, and Network C has an affordable texting service. This environment leads to mobile service users averaging more than one SIM card to maximise on these unique benefits that each service provider has.”

Njuguna said, however, that until the launch of Chura there had been no platform that allowed users to shift from one network to another with ease.

Chura was a finalist at the PIVOT East competition in June last year and declared a winner at the DEMO Africa conference in Lagos, Nigeria in September. The latter success gave the startup the opportunity to pitch at the DEMO Fall event in Silicon Valley last month.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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