Technology is a wonder. Every day we get t experience new amazing advancements. I still remember my dad’s first mobile phone. He owned a couple of vehicles before the mobile phone⸺something that doesn\’t happen today. Five-year-olds of today will order a pizza on uber eats using a smartphone. I still remember the first touchscreen phone I saw, the first colored phone. All these things happened pretty amazingly and I can\’t help but feel some nostalgia.
Another amazing happening today in tech is the Africa tech industry come up. You don\’t have to look far to notice it. It’s quite evident in Kenya. Kenya is number in the world when it comes to mobile money tech. All thanks to Mpesa. Europe and America can only watch and learn. Kenya’s service industry is thriving at a very high rate. It is one of the industries that grew exponentially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
More and more Kenyans are creating tech start-ups that, in my opinion, will rule the world in the next few coming years. I am quite sure the next Jeff Bezos will come from Kenya. Many of these start-ups are being developed by young disruptors. I had the privilege of talking to one of the young Kenyans disrupting the Kenya tech industry. The 20-year-old founder of Kyanda, Collins Kathuli.
Kyanda is a money transfer website and app revolutionizing the money transfer industry. According to Collins Kathuli, it’s a Kenyan fintech startup that offers 360-degree digital financial services through its infrastructure to serve both individuals and businesses. We offer our unique services through:
1. Individual Mobile Platform offering essential financial services i.e. Bill Payments (Airtime, TV, Electricity & Water) P2P Money transfer, (C2B, B2B, & B2C Payments), and Cash In/Out.
2. Mobile Agency Network. Kyanda accesses the unbanked and under-banked through a wide spread of Kyanda agents through mobile POS technology.
Scaling: Kyanda has partnered with Ecobank Africa and a handheld PDQ/POS Chinese manufacturer to supply these devices to our agents, increasing efficiency in how our services are offered).
3. API gateway. Businesses are able to access utility vending, payment collection and disbursement to/from Mobile Wallets, Banks. For the first time, Kyanda is offering open APIs (Application Programming Interface) that allow real-time disbursement of funds to all 42 banks in Kenya.
I had the pleasure of asking him a few questions and here’s what he shared with me.
LG: What is your backstory, how did it all start, and when?
CK: After I was done with High school in December 2019, I noted most people around me complained a lot of the high transaction charges they incur whilst accessing financial services, I saw an opportunity in this and went ahead to build a transaction-free platform to help curb this situation. With my savings, which did not exceed $500, I gathered all information needed and within three months, I had developed a working Mobile App and website, thanks to
Partnerships from Bank and Telcos. The platform was rolled out in February 2020 being run and managed by two full-time employees.
LG: What impact has Kyanda had on its users?
CK: The fact that more than seven in 10 adults were financially included (73%); and of these financial account holders, 98% held mobile money accounts presents an opportunity for Kyanda to reach this already broad existing market and offer its unique services in one mobile application.
Today Kyanda platform and network supports nearly all banks and Sacco’s, 5 Telcos, 18 billers, and has served over 350,000 unique customers, all of which have processed millions of transactions to date.
Looking at its impact, across Africa, there is massive population growth compared to the rest of the world, meaning that there are more young people than the global average. In Kenya especially, the job market cannot sustain the population growth and the government cannot offer this large population job opportunities. Kyanda in its journey to broaden financial inclusion aims to employ and to improve living standards to over 100,000 agents that offer these essential financial services to the untapped market in our countries.
During this pandemic, physical money carries increased health risks and thus has inadvertently created the perfect timing for our Money Transfer Service, which was greatly consumed during the Inter-Country Lockdown. Everyone wanted to save the extra coin they had, making payments through our Platform gave one discount and cashback that motivated all of our users to keep transacting with Kyanda.
LG: What is your future plan with Kyanda?
CK: Kyanda embarks on empowering micro-retailers / MSMEs through the power of mobile technology to become agents of change in the drive for financial inclusion. Micro-retailers using our platform can become last-mile agents for financial services by offering cash-in/cash-out, bill payments, airtime services among others; helping them diversify and improve their earnings ability through commissions, hence an improvement of employment opportunities to over 100,000 mobile money agents.
To facilitate the rollout of our agency network, we’re extending a partnership with a POS handheld manufacturer in China, to supply handsets that will enable us to offer our services in the simplest way possible and create a gateway to access the untapped market in Kenya and Africa at large.
In supporting SMEs and established brands, Kyanda will offer B2B services such as credit Loans to SMEs to keep their businesses running and make sure that they are fully restocked. Offer merchant payments solutions through an easy-step payment integration to enable businesses to collect and transact their Payments through our secure payment API gateways.
In broadening financial inclusion in Kenya and Africa at large, Kyanda aims to house nearly all financial services under one roof, making the access cheaper, fast and efficient. Smart difference from our competitors is what we’ll make: covering all loopholes that may be left uncovered in the run to obtain a large market share. The financial success of our clients, thus, will define our success. We believe that we’re on the face of the market to offer great services and constantly focus on innovation; bringing simpler services to all Mwananchi (Citizens).
LG: What do you need the most help with?
CK: Maneuvering the ever-changing regulations, access to funding, mass outreach marketing.
LG: What does the end goal look like for you?
CK: I believe in being simple and always on the run to participate only in markets where I can make a significant contribution. Seeking our growth both from new clients and by serving the financial needs of present clients in a more complete and efficient manner. Building an all-in-one platform where all Financial services needed by an Individual or a– Business are housed.
Kathuli founded Kyanda, his first business, at only 19 years old. Kyanda has won awards like Fintech Founder of the Year East Africa 2020 and the Ivory Mark Award in the CIO100 Awards. His work has also gotten some recognition in publications including Disrupt Africa, Further Africa, Founder360, Kahawa Tungu, and Techtrend Africa.
You can catch him on Instagram, Linkedin, Youtube, and Kyanda.co.ke.
Watch Kathuli speak.