Startup-focused news and research company Disrupt Africa has announced it is to make Finnovating for Africa 2021, the third edition of its deep-dive into the continent’s fintech space, free to all as part of an open-sourcing initiative alongside partners that include payments company Flutterwave and VC firm GreenHouse Capital.
Every two years since June 2017, Disrupt Africa has released the Finnovating for Africa publication, which tracks the extraordinary development of the fintech ecosystem across Africa over the last few years.
It includes consideration of the regional spread and growth of fintech ventures, discussion of startup activity in various sub-sectors of the fintech industry, data on fintech startup launches by year, tracking of funding and acquisitions in the fintech space, details of fintech accelerator programmes open to African applicants and financial institutions with initiatives aimed at African fintech startups, and a full list of every known African fintech startup.
Previously available for sale, the report is purchased by leading tech companies from Africa and the rest of the world, Big Four consulting firms, banking and fintech leaders, venture capital firms, supranational investors and international trade bodies. In June 2021, however, Disrupt Africa will make the next edition of Finnovating for Africa open source.
This will make the data and analysis contained in its pages accessible to those for whom the information is most valuable – African entrepreneurs – and follows on from the success of the recently-released African Tech Startups Funding Report 2021, which was made available for free for the first time in January and has so far been downloaded more than 2,000 times.
It is doing this with the help of key partners Flutterwave, an African fintech company that allows clients to use its APIs and work with its developers to customise payments applications, and which recently obtained “unicorn” status, and GreenHouse Capital, a Lagos-based fintech investment company that invests capital and specialised expertise into companies that will power Africa’s economic future.
Confirmed section partners at this stage are MFS Africa, a leading pan-African fintech company, operating the largest digital payments hub on the continent; and truID, the largest Open Finance platform in South Africa.
The other confirmed partners so far are DEMARS, an inclusive financial technologies provider that builds wallets and APIs for peer-to-peer money transfers; Quona Capital, a venture capital firm that invests in fintech innovations advancing inclusion in emerging markets; JUMO, a market-leading Banking as a Service platform that powers AI for financial services in emerging markets; Abjel Communications, a social enterprise communications agency; and Kuda, a full-service, digital-only bank with a mission to make banking more accessible, affordable and rewarding for every African on the planet. FlexClub, E-Settlement, BitLipa, Eversend, Sun Exchange and Zagace are also supporters.
“The successful open-sourcing of our flagship funding report in January, both in terms of the quality of partners secured and the number of downloads, inspired us to also make our vertical publications free to all, starting with Finnovating for Africa 2021. We are delighted to welcome on board a stellar cast of supporters, and can’t wait to get a copy of the report to as many entrepreneurs as possible,” said Tom Jackson, co-founder of Disrupt Africa.
“Over the last few years, more and more data sources have emerged on the African tech startup ecosystem, yet the price of this data often means it is not accessible to early-stage startups,” said Gabriella Mulligan, Disrupt Africa co-founder. “We are excited to make valuable data and analysis available for free to those that need it the most, and hope it inspires more success stories on the continent.”
Disrupt Africa’s partners expressed their excitement at playing such a key role in this open-sourcing project.
“We are excited to partner with Disrupt Africa in making important fintech data and insight available to African entrepreneurs at zero cost. We have always believed in the unlimited potential of young people in Africa, needing support to actualise their dreams. This is our way of making much-needed help available to the growing technology ecosystem in Africa. We believe that when African entrepreneurs win, we all win. The growth of fintech in Africa has been remarkable and to sustain this, we must be data-driven in our processes and strategies. We are happy to be a part of this initiative to improve data access to African entrepreneurs,” said Olugbenga ‘GB’ Agboola, chief executive officer (CEO) and founder of Flutterwave.
“We are thrilled to be a major partner in this project. Such data and analysis is valuable to better understand and appreciate the growth of the African fintech sector. We are proud of our contribution to its growth,” said Bunmi Akinyemiju, partner at GreenHouse Capital.
“We believe that high quality data is critical in demonstrating the untapped potential of the African fintech market. We are proud to partner with Disrupt Africa, in their mission to track the progress of the African fintech sector, in order to inform large corporations, policymakers and investors of the progress being made by the sector. We believe that this will contribute immensely to attracting more resources across the continent, helping fintech companies serve the underserved,” said Dare Okoudjou, founder and CEO of MFS Africa.
“Disrupt Africa, their name says it all. They’re in-the-know on all things tech on the continent which means more data, deeper insights and wider reach than anyone else. They should be everyone’s go-to publication to know more, they’re ours for sure!,” said Paris Valakelis, co-founder of truID.
“Finnovating for Africa features startups building a new vision for the financial services industry in Africa. DEMARS is privileged to be part of this incredible ecosystem, where one size most certainly does not fit all, and we get to solve big problems – together,” said Shaun Burrow, founder and CEO of DEMARS.
“It’s great to partner with Disrupt Africa in support of the Finnovating for Africa report,” said Johan Bosini, Quona Capital’s Cape Town-based partner. “There is tremendous value in looking at the fintech ecosystem and funding trends on the continent in a holistic way, and as investors in financial inclusion, we welcome the expansion of consumer-first and MSME-first products that enable more people to thrive.” Quona’s Africa investments since the firm’s inception include Yoco, Sokowatch, Cowrywise, Lulalend, Zoona/Tilt and AllLife.
“We are really excited about the capability we can now offer our customers and partners on the platform,” said JUMO CEO Andrew Watkins-Ball. “We have dropped the cost of risk by 90 per cent in the last five years. This allows us to share the benefits of better products with customers and partners. We believe everyone should have access to the best choices. It’s an incredible space that we operate in with lots of growth and opportunity, so we’re really pleased to be partnering with Disrupt Africa to share information on the fintech startup landscape.”
“Data is crucial for the growth and survival of businesses and organisations around the world. It is even more critical in Africa as the continent looks to build a new vision with fintech startups leading the way. This is why we are so pleased to partner with Disrupt Africa as they launch The Finnovating for Africa report, and for the first time, they will be able to offer this for free to the many African startups who would benefit from its content,” said Adisa Amanor-Wilks, CEO of Abjel Communications.
“Partnering with Disrupt Africa to launch this year’s edition of Finnovating for Africa is a move to democratise access to reliable and in-depth reporting on the continent’s fintech startup ecosystem – something that has been a luxury in the past. Distributing this report free of charge resonates with our mission at Kuda, and we’re proud to be associated with Disrupt Africa,” said Bradley Want, head of growth at Kuda.
Disrupt Africa continues to seek partners to help it increase the scale of this open-sourcing initiative. For more information on partnering, or to find out more about the annual funding report, please email Gabriella on [email protected], or Tom on [email protected]. More information here.
About Disrupt Africa
Disrupt Africa is the one-stop-shop for all news, information and commentary pertaining to the continent’s tech startup – and investment – ecosystem. With journalists roaming the continent to find, meet, and interview the most innovative and disruptive tech startups, Disrupt Africa is a true showcase of Africa’s most promising businesses and business ideas. Its research arm releases in-depth reports on various aspects of the African tech startup ecosystem. Details here.
Flutterwave is a payments technology company that helps businesses all over the world expand their operations in Africa and other emerging markets, through a platform that enables cross-border transactions via one API. Flutterwave has processed over 140 million transactions worth over US$9 billion to date, and serves more than 290,000 businesses including customers like Uber, Flywire and Booking.com. The company’s key advantage is international payment processing in 150 currencies and multiple payment modes including local and international cards, mobile wallets, bank transfers, Barter by Flutterwave etc. Flutterwave has an infrastructure reach in over 33 African countries, including Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, and South Africa. For more information on Flutterwave’s journey, please visit www.flutterwave.com.
About GreenHouse Capital
GreenHouse Capital is Sub-Saharan Africa’s largest fintech fund by portfolio size. Founded in 2014 as the venture capital arm of Nigerian fintech holding company, Venture Garden Group, GreenHouse has emerged as a platform connecting startups, corporates, and investors driving technological innovation in Africa and the Middle East. They have invested in 23 startups across seven countries and have run numerous accelerators to train and support promising entrepreneurs.
About MFS Africa
MFS Africa is a leading Pan-African fintech company, operating the largest digital payments hub on the continent. Connected to over 200 million mobile wallets in Sub-Saharan Africa, MFS Africa offers its partners unparalleled reach for scale across the continent. We allow merchants, banks, mobile operators and money transfer companies to leverage the ubiquity of mobile wallets as a safe, convenient, and cost-effective transaction channel. MFS Africa works in close partnership with players across the ecosystem to bring simple and secure mobile financial services to un- and under-banked customers. For millions of customers in Africa and beyond, we make borders matter less.
truID is a thought leader and the largest Open Finance platform in South Africa entrenched in the ecosystem. Its key ambition is to redefine financial services through the frictionless, safe and secure sharing of consumer financial data. The truID open platform supports account verification, KYC processes, and accessing transactional data for account aggregation, compliance, credit scoring, and fraud assessment to organisations of all sizes. truID’s success is mirrored in its ability to bring simple, efficient and cost effective solutions to all types of financial services providers. Visit www.truID.co.za to begin your Open Finance journey.
DEMARS is an award-winning technology services partner for organisations implementing regulated financial services blockchain solutions. DEMARS supports digital asset issuances, multi-currency wallets, APIs and integrations. They enable secure, transparent and affordable financial services previously out of reach for most, such as instant cross-border micropayments and tokenised savings products.
About Quona Capital
Quona Capital is a venture firm focused on fintech for inclusion in emerging markets. Quona partners have deep experience as investors and operators in both emerging and developed markets, and look for entrepreneurs whose companies have the potential to provide outstanding financial returns and promote breakthrough innovation in financial inclusion. Quona’s global team has supported more than 30 financial technology companies expanding access for underserved consumers and small businesses in Latin America, South and Southeast Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa. Quona got its start through a strategic relationship with Accion, a global nonprofit with a pioneering legacy in microfinance and fintech impact investing. For more information, visit quona.com.
JUMO was founded in 2015 and is the market leading Banking as a Service platform that powers AI for financial services in emerging markets. The platform has two foundational capabilities: Core – which provides end-to-end, next generation banking infrastructure, and Unify – the Artificial Intelligence processor that transforms data to reduce the cost and risk of lending. JUMO offers savings and credit products to entrepreneurs in emerging markets, as well as financial services infrastructure to partners such as e-money operators and banks. In just over five years of operation, JUMO has enabled the disbursement of more than US$2.5 billion in loans and reached over 18 million customers and small businesses. They are active in seven markets including Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Côte d’Ivoire and Pakistan. For further information, contact: JUMO – [email protected]
About Abjel Communications
Abjel Communications is a strategic communications, branding and media relations consulting firm focused on Africa. We are Africa’s first social enterprise communications agency working with organisations to improve their communications and to promote sustainability in Africa. As a social enterprise, profits from our work go to support a children’s bereavement charity in Ghana, Igrieve. Whatever the size of your business, wherever you are, we’ll help get your message across. Send us an email via [email protected] or visit our website www.abjel.com.
Kuda is a full-service, digital-only bank with a mission to make banking more accessible, affordable and rewarding for every African on the planet. Founded in Nigeria by Babs Ogundeyi and Musty Mustapha in 2019, Kuda has offices in London, Cape Town, and Lagos – where it operates as Kuda Microfinance Bank under license from the Central Bank of Nigeria. Kuda launched its beta app in September 2019.