Kenya’s Mookh Africa has won the top prize in the first ever Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) Visa Everywhere Initiative. Mookh beat 11 other finalists, who included 3 Kenyan startups, to emerge as winners.
Visa Everywhere is a global program aimed at startups and designed to encourage the development of the next big thing in payments. The SSA program was structured around three real life business challenges:
1. Merchant Payments Challenge: How to enable smaller merchants to accept payments in-store digitally OR Provide a safe and secure solution for online merchants to drive eCommerce and reduce cash on delivery?
2. Social Business Payments Challenge: How can startups use Visa’s APIs to leverage mass reach and social media partner platforms like Facebook to help businesses operating in fast-paced consumer centric environments improve cash flow and receive payments?
3. Financial Inclusion Challenge: How can startups leverage technology to provide services that are functional for illiterate customers to provide them with secure transaction experiences that build and enhance their confidence in the banking system?
Mookh Africa has a social business payments solution which makes it easy for people in Africa to buy and sell on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Once the seller creates an online store on Mookh, they can embed it into their Facebook page. The Kenyan startup won both the “Social Business Payments” challenge as well as the overall prize for its idea. The company took home US$50,000 and the opportunity to work with Visa to develop the concept further.
Nigerian startup, CredPal, won the “Merchant Payments” challenge and US$25,000 for its solution that allows business and individuals to pay for purchases in installments across online and offline merchants by providing them with instant access to credit at the point of checkout. The merchant then fulfills the order and is paid in full while the customer pays CredPal back in fixed monthly installments.
Zowasel, another Nigerian startup, developed a solution which connects under-financed smallholder farmers with investors via mobile phone-based P2P lending and marketplace sales, as well as gives them access to best agricultural practices. They won in the “Financial Inclusion” challenge. The SSA edition of Visa’s Everywhere Initiative is also the first time that startups have been given a challenge specific to financial inclusion since it was launched in 2015.