Uganda’s OlyCash facilitates remote cash transactions

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Ugandan fintech startup OlyCash is facilitating cash payments between parties in different physical locations, online and offline, using agents and one-time codes.

Launched in 2016, OlyCash uses agents with ccess to electronic accounts to reach all members of the population, completing transactions through codes issued to represent the cash, while agents facilitate cash-in and cash-out for a market-determined fee.

The startup started accepting payments and seller listings less than three months ago, and has managed to sign up more than 290 sellers, doubling revenue each month.

Chief financial officer (CFO) Eisah Mayanja, who co-founded OlyCash alongside Ash Luwambo and Al Zziwa, told Disrupt Africa the startup had spotted the difficulties Ugandans faced in making online payments with cash due to various logistical reasons.

“The most realistic solution invented for the developing markets situation was cash-on-delivery. OlyCash is determined to change that. If you have cash, you should be able to buy anything anywhere,” he said.

The self-funded startup has been market testing for the majority of its existence, but now feels that it has found a model that is scalable, secure and reliable.

“For lack of better options, this even includes our own shipment processing and tracking system. We have established major industry relationships relevant to the operation and growth of such a business from the top three shipment providers and all major telecoms in Uganda,” Mayanja said.

Currently operating only in Uganda as it perfects its processes for developing markets, OlyCash is already planning a soft launch in California, where Mayanja said there are many relevant use cases and identified demand, such as cash payments on Craigslist.

“We want to prove that OlyCash can handle both extreme ends of the economic spectrum. We then plan to start spreading in developing and developed markets alike as per our planned schedule. This will make it tough for any copycat, whether in developing or developed markets, unless they can beat us on execution,” he said.

OlyCash makes money by charging a commission of one per cent on each successful transaction between two parties on its platform, such as between a seller and a shopper – a purchase – or between an agent and a shopper – a cash-out.

“We also make extra from the add-on services, such as a seller’s online shop-front or ticketing – all in line with the value proposition. Our intention is to build an economy on top of OlyCash where agents, developers, sellers, entertainers and other businesses thrive,” Mayanja said.

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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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