SA’s My-iMali targets niche areas in overcrowded payments sector

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Payments platforms are not exactly in short supply in Africa, but South African fintech startup My-iMali believes it has identified a couple of niche areas where it can achieve success.

Founded in 2018, My-iMali has developed the BxChange E-Wallet App, an affordable, easy to use and convenient digital wallet that enables customers to make transfers to bank accounts, and top-up or purchase prepaid products and services.

The startup is focusing on two main products, eventing solution Cashless King and Staff-Pay, the latter of which is targeting companies that pay wages in cash. 

“We open wallets for each staff member and issue a pre-paid Mastercard debit card, the payroll office then opens a wallet and it only costs ZAR1.25 to pay your entire staff compliment. Not per person, only ZAR1.25 for the entire batch,” Matthew Goosen, the startup’s chief executive officer (CEO), told Disrupt Africa.

He reports strong uptake on both products, while My-iMali has built a team of 12 permanent staff. It works with 50 virtual enterprises to distribute its services.

“This is like a franchising model, except it’s free, and we share VAS and merchant acquisition fees with companies and individuals that bring users on-board,” Goosen said. 

“Commission is automatically calculated and shared per transaction for every transaction up and until the end user signed up remains active on the platform.”

Who are the target users, then? Essentially, the unbanked.

“Not all people have access to a bank account and not all people can afford the monthly costs of a bank account,” said Goosen. “We have no monthly costs and all POS transactions in South Africa a free using the My-iMali Mastercard.”

The startup wants to scale further, and with this in mind it got on the fundraising trail in 2019. Disrupt Africa reported in September it had launched an Uprise.Africa crowdfunding campaign in a bid to raise ZAR24 million (US$1.6 million), but it secured just ZAR38,000 (US$2,600) of that target.

“We feel that this is something very new to South Africa, and thought we would try it. Although not successful, we feel that it did bring some awareness to our company and products,” Goosen said.

Never fear, because My-iMali went on to raise funding in a more traditional manner, however, banking an undisclosed amount of capital from the Crossfin angel investment arm. The investment, which was undertaken in partnership with Investec Private Capital through its Emerging Companies mandate, added the startup to a fintech-focused Crossfin portfolio that also includes the likes of wiGroup, iKhokha, Crossgate and Nobuntu.

The startup, which makes money on VAS rebates and merchant transactions, rather than from its end users, now has expansion on its mind. Currently active in South Africa and Kenya, it plans to launch in quite a few new countries to take advantage of its first mover advantage in its niche segments.

“We have two very disruptive products and the clock is ticking,” said Goosen.

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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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