Homegrown payments solution sees strong uptake in Ivory Coast

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Digital payments solution SycaPay has seen strong uptake since its launch in its home market of Ivory Coast earlier this year, and plans to take its product into other West and Central African countries.

Launched in February, SycaPay is a simple, autonomous and secure digital payment solution that allows customers to buy instantly using mobile money, credit cards, PayPal, vouchers or cash online or in-store.

The platform is easier to implement and requires no technical skills to use, while the startup also provides a mobile point of sale (mPOS) system that can be used by any sort of business.

With 20 customers registered, more than 200 transactions made and almost US$4,000 in revenues, SycaPay has already expanded into Senegal and is now targeting significant growth within the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) and the Economic Community of Central African States (CEMAC) over the next three years.

Co-founder Ismael Sow told Disrupt Africa the startup had been launched to fill three major gaps, namely the lack of secure online payment solutions in West Africa, the technical complexity of integrating multiple payments solutions, and the insecurity linked to the cash on delivery services used by e-commerce companies.

“We tackle these gaps with SycaPay which is easy to install and easy to use in day-to-day business. This is a great help for the African e-business sector,” he said.

Sow said SycaPay did not so much think it had “competition” in the space as “coopetition”, in that its platform works in harmony with mobile money payment solutions run by telecoms firms.

“At the same time, going with SycaPay ensures you can have all telecom payment solution in a country, and if needed others countries too, in one integration process,” he said. “By doing that we help both merchants and mobile money operators. This is why we prefer to talk about “coopetitors”.”

He believes the startup’s market in terms of being an integrated solution is totally new.

“Integrating credit cards and offering other services linked to digital transformation make a lot of difference,” Sow said.

The SycaPay solution is free for the buyer, while the merchant is charged a monthly subscription and a small fee per transaction.

SycaPay is, for the time being, self-funded, and the startup is still very much focused on building its customer base. Sow did say, however, that the founders had received interest from a number of investors, and was looking at opportunities to raise funds to take the startup to other African countries.

“We hope in very short term to open branches in the eight WAEMU countries,” he said. “Our ambition is to deliver services all over Africa where mobile money is widely.”

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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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