Cameroonian fintech startup Diool is expanding into new markets early next year after nearing break-even point based on strong uptake in its home market.
Diool started life as a mobile recharge project back in 2015, offering small merchants a way to sell prepaid recharges to their customers from a single app, but eventually pivoted into financial services aggregation after realising payment interchanges and financial services access was the pain point of its target users.
“In Africa, Cameroon in particular, it’s still very difficult to pay others using something other than cash, because they don’t always have the right accepting method for the proposed payment, and often reconciling flows across different instruments is difficult and costly,” said Serge Boupda, co-founder of Diool.
Diool, on the other hand, makes it simple to make transactions using a variety of payment methods, online or at a shop.
“To achieve that, we build a network of merchants that offer services from providers available on our platform and accept payments from their customers using the method of their choice,” Boupda said.
“You go in a shop where this product or service is available, and ask for it. The merchant will execute your transaction and collect your payment. You pay in cash, cards, mobile money or whatever money instrument you have at hand, as long as it’s integrated on the platform. The merchant using Diool is eager to accept them all because he can reconcile them easily into one account, and pay providers, suppliers, partners or other merchants directly from it.”
Merchant and customer numbers in Cameroon have been on the rise, with Diool – which has taken on some angel funding – having 2,500 merchants undertaking 500,000 each month.
“We’re adding the number of integrations to our platform to include microfinance banks, insurers and consumer retailers,” Boupda said.
The startup is launching in Senegal and Ivory Coast early next year as it approaches break-even, making money by charging providers a transaction fee when customers make payments.