South African startup Krowdbox has launched its platform that aims to simplify how SMEs access digital payments and grow their businesses online.
Launched in November 2020, Krowdbox allows local SMEs to introduce, receive, manage and easily track online payments from customers, even if their business is offline.
The goal is to simplify how SMEs access online payments and introduce this option into their business easily, in a cost effective manner.
“Basically, we want to democratise online payments,” said Adebiyi Fajemisin, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Krowdbox.
“The idea is to encourage local SMEs – including township SMEs – to develop and build their businesses online as we move into a more technology-led economy. Our platform is simple to use, secure, and does not require any integration or developments to get started, making it easy for SMEs.”
Through the Krowdbox app, businesses generate and send various types of payment links to their customers to make online payments. Its payment links cover different forms of payments, including invoice payments, product payments or generic payments. Upon receipt, customers are directed to a secure payment platform where they can make payment using a variety of options.
“Across Africa, SMEs continue to be strong drivers of economic growth accounting for 20-50 per cent of GDP, are important contributors to job creation, and represent the bulk of businesses,” Fajemisin said.
“With the increase in mobile phone penetration and digital awareness, SMEs are starting to adopt other options including POS, mobile wallets and online payments to receive payments for products or services. Although many still focus on taking cash payments, there is an increasing trend towards digital payments.”
Fajemisin believes, however, that many online payment gateways and mobile POS providers are not responding quickly enough to broaden payment options or make the adoption process easy for startups and smaller SMEs.
“In addition, many of these providers do not properly cater for other alternative payments options and infrastructure that are emerging and their solutions usually require an SME to pay upfront costs and have technical development skills before they can introduce online payments into their business,” he said.
“These are the gaps and issues we are trying to solve.”
Krowdbox has taken on a small amount of angel funding, and currently has 25 businesses using the platform.
“Our plan is to reach between 500 and 750 business customers in the first year of launch,” Fajemisin said.
“We are currently in discussions with a major insurance company in South Africa who would like to offer our platform to its funeral parlour affiliates as an alternative and better option to collect and track monthly funeral policy premiums. We believe this partnership will contribute immensely to our growth in the first year.”