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FinTech

Visa shortlists fintech startups for accelerator program

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Payments giant Visa has announced the startups from sub-Saharan Africa that were shortlisted for the second cohort of its Africa Fintech Accelerator program.

The biannual program offers 12 weeks of one-on-one mentorship and personalized training, providing seed to series A startups with opportunities to access funding, development and resources.

The aim of the program is to address the challenges and opportunities in the African fintech landscape, such as financial inclusion, access to credit, cross-border payments and digital transformation.

The selected startups offer a range of solutions, including neo-banking, merchant payments, credit scoring, risk and identity management, embedded finance, social commerce and escrow services.

The second cohort comes from nine countries in sub-Saharan Africa – with operations across 28 African countries – and 65% of the startups are female led. In comparison, the first cohort operated across 18 countries and 43% featured female leadership.

"At Visa, we believe in uplifting innovation while driving access and inclusion across the financial ecosystem. Today, we are proud to say that our second cohort of Accelerator participants represents more than 50% of countries across Africa, up from a third during our first cohort," Aida Diarra, VP and head of sub-Saharan Africa at Visa said in a statement.

"Not only that – but women are in leadership roles across the majority of these cutting-edge startups. We have a robust, diverse selection of innovators seeking to shape the future of commerce and finance – and Visa is happy to help them take the next step to where they need to be," Diarra continued.

Rahul Jain, co-founder and CEO of Peach Payments; Aida Diarra, VP and head of sub-Saharan Africa at Visa; Christian Kajeneri, director of payment systems at the National Bank of Rwanda (NBR); Lesego Charlie, senior director of corporate communications for sub-Saharan Africa at Visa; and Paul Russo, CEO of KCB Group, during an 'Innovation for Inclusion' panel discussion in Kigali, Rwanda.   (Source: Visa)
Rahul Jain, co-founder and CEO of Peach Payments; Aida Diarra, VP and head of sub-Saharan Africa at Visa; Christian Kajeneri, director of payment systems at the National Bank of Rwanda (NBR); Lesego Charlie, senior director of corporate communications for sub-Saharan Africa at Visa; and Paul Russo, CEO of KCB Group, during an 'Innovation for Inclusion' panel discussion in Kigali, Rwanda.
(Source: Visa)

The accelerator program, launched in June 2023, is part of Visa's efforts to help uplift the digital economy in Africa, including a pledge to invest $1 billion into the continent by 2027 to help revolutionize the payments ecosystem.

The sub-Saharan African startups shortlisted for the second cohort are:

  • Chapa (Ethiopia) - Merchant solutions
  • CheckUps Medical Hub (Kenya) - Embedded finance for health
  • AzamPay (Tanzania) - B2B marketplace
  • Beem (Tanzania) - Social commerce
  • Bizao (Côte d'Ivoire) - Merchant payments solution
  • Hub2 (Côte d'Ivoire) - Enabler infrastructure
  • Iwomi Technologies (Cameroon) - Money movement
  • Proboutik (Cameroon) - Merchant payments solution
  • Vaultpay (Democratic Republic of Congo) - Merchant payments solution
  • Aku (Nigeria) - Neo-banking
  • Cleva (Nigeria) - Money movement
  • Curacel (Nigeria) - Insurance management
  • E-doc Online (Nigeria) - Open banking
  • Raenest (Nigeria) - Money movement
  • Bridgecard (Nigeria) - Enabler infrastructure
  • Ordev (South Africa) - Merchant value add solutions
  • Truzo (South Africa) - Escrow services
  • Lupiya (Zambia) - Neo-banking

    Program outcomes

    The 12-week virtual accelerator program will conclude with an in-person "Demo Day," where startups will have the opportunity to pitch their innovations to key ecosystem players, funding partners, angel investors and venture capitalists.

    The program builds on the success of the first cohort, who graduated in February 2024 with an investor week in Nairobi that saw the participation of more than 250 attendees including banking and fintech partners, investors and venture capital firms.

    Visa said that the first cohort of startups have reported positive outcomes from the program, such as increased user growth, product enhancements, funding opportunities and strategic partnerships with Visa and other industry players.

    In addition to the 18 startups from sub-Saharan Africa that have been announced, North African startups will also be unveiled next week on the sidelines of GITEX Africa in Morocco.

    Related posts:

    *Top image source: DC Studio on Freepik

    — Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

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