Meet the Winners: Pngme & AT’s Financial Inclusion Hackathon

Published by Pngme on

Pngme and Africa’s Talking have just concluded their Financial Inclusion Hackathon for projects and developers building transformative financial applications across Africa. 

The participants submitted proof of concepts and working prototypes demonstrating a commitment to financial inclusion in their respective markets. Each highlighted exactly how Pngme’s SDK/API and Africa’s Talking’s communication products could help drive their progress and help them find success.

Pngme and Africa’s Talking assessed each product for clear market fit as well as for the ability to scale. Participants also had to demonstrate the need for continuous real-time financial data for their product to succeed and had to provide a roadmap for prototype, MVP, and beyond.

After reviewing many impressive submissions, the team put together a strong shortlist of developers to move through to the next round. Pngme’s data science team and Africa’s Talking’s development team then spent one week delving into each project and were blown away by the incredible work each company is doing in enabling financial inclusion throughout Africa.

We asked the shortlist a few questions to better get to know them and their products. We’re energised by the work they’re doing in inclusive commerce and we’re excited to share some more about them with you: 

DIGICASH will give people a way to build their credit scores while performing cash transactions

with other people. Customers can access loans from Digicash and other financial companies that will integrate with Digicash to generate a credit score from cash transaction history,

guarantors network, and loan history.

Twitter: @devgoks

LinkedIn 1:https://www.linkedin.com/in/olamigoke-olabampe

LinkedIn 2:https://www.linkedin.com/in/imonjirie-newton/

Pngme: Tell us a bit about the customers you want to help with this product. Who are they and why will they benefit from your product? 

Digicash: Our target market is the millions of underbanked and unbanked people, including small businesses, who do the majority of their transactions with cash, and people in remote communities without access to financial services. By utilizing USSD, Digicash will provide an innovative way for customers to record cash transactions, securely grow savings, build credit scores and ultimately, gain access to loans. 

Pngme: What are your long-term ambitions as an entrepreneur and developer? What would you like to achieve or build in the future?

Digicash: As an entrepreneur and developer, l would like to bring Nigeria and Africa-at-large to a point of global relevance and prominence. By solving global problems with solutions created in Africa, we can bring transformative revenue to Africa. 

Pngme: What projects/companies do you admire in Africa at the moment?

Digicash: In the fintech world, we admire companies like Interswitch, Paystack, and Flutterwave. They have set a very high standard for African fintech companies and have put the continent on the map. It’s incredible to see the funding they have secured from some of the world’s top VCs.

KAFINDA is an online platform that helps evaluate the credit scores of local artisans’ businesses by digitizing their payment methods and connecting them to microfinance institutions. Conversely, app users can easily locate the artisan businesses they are looking for and book and pay for services using an electronic payment method.

LinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/in/david-dornyoh-7b375656/ 

Website: https://www.behance.net/daviddornyoh

Pngme: What life experience inspired you to build this product?

Kafinda: After relocating to a new area, I needed to find a new barbershop. Since I didn’t have friends in the area to recommend a place to go, I thought a platform that would help customers and artisans connect and help businesses grow would be a great solution from which many people and businesses could benefit.

Pngme: Tell us a bit about the customers you want to help with this product. Who are they and why will they benefit from your product? 

Kafinda: My target customers are artisans in Africa, including tailors, barbers, hairdressers, and carpenters. Most of my target customers offer services that typically receive payment only after they have seen their customer, making it difficult to get a loan to scale their business.

Pngme: What are the main challenges you face in getting your product live or in further developing it?

Kafinda: I am about to complete my MVP1 and now my primary challenge is securing seed-funding. I plan to pre-fund myself, but realize I will need additional funding to onboard the necessary initial artisan businesses, at first.

KAROPAY is an Edtech/Fintech firm that is focused on creating solutions in the education space. We have two main objectives. Our first objective is to smooth out operations for players in the education sector; parents, students, school owners, associations, and other players. Our  second objective is to ensure that parents have financial freedom. This will ensure that financing education is not strenuous to anyone. 

LinkedIn page: https://www.linkedin.com/company/karopay-credit 

Websites: www.karopaycredit.com & insurance.karopaycredit.com 

Pngme: What life experience inspired you to build this product?

Karopay: Growing up, I was always out of school due to school fee challenges. At the time, I was not aware that unconsciously, my mind was already striving to create a solution. Luckily, thanks to various scholarships, I managed to finish my bachelor’s in financial economics at Strathmore University and to complete an Executive Certificate of Proficiency from the College of Insurance. I started my career in the finance department at a pay-go solar company, which reshaped my perspective on credit, savings, and insurance. I believe it is these experiences that have fueled my drive to build my entrepreneurial acumen. In fact, when I started my first business, I was only in my second year of university and handed it over so that I could focus on school work. But with Karopay, nothing is stopping us. Not even ourselves. (Brian Ndege Co-founder)

Pngme: Tell us a bit about the customers you want to help with this product. Who are they and why will they benefit from your product? 

Karopay: We believe that all players in the education sector are our potential clients because through each one of them we can impact our children and the future. However, our current products specifically target parents and school owners. We believe that this is a perfect starting point to influence our future and is a broad class of potential clients. More specifically, our model holds a laser-focus on parents and school owners in rural and semi-rural areas as well as on small schools and low-income parents in urban and peri-urban regions. This however, does not mean that tier 1 schools are not on our radar. 

Pngme: What are your long-term ambitions as an entrepreneur and developer? What would you like to achieve or build in the future?

Karopay: We believe that more than half of the problems we face in this world can be solved by education. We also believe that more than half of the hurdles faced in educating our future can be solved by technology. We have a dream of having an innovative tech solution for every problem that children face while learning in Africa and the rest of the world, from education financing to learning tools for students. 

PACIOLI is a digital lending tool for microfinance institutions (MFIs). Pacioli is the most affordable software that has almost completely automated the process of customer-onboarding and account reconciliation, ensuring auto-populating and auto-validating of the customers’ Know-Your-Customer (KYC) details for onboarding. Pacioli does account reconciliation for over 100,000 transactions with just a few clicks, within 5 minutes, and can be used to onboard over 2,000 customers within 24hrs.

Website: https://petrongsoftware.com

LinkedIn Page: https://www.linkedin.com/company/79693431/admin/

Pngme: Tell us a bit about the customers you want to help with this product. Who are they and why will they benefit from your product? 

Pacioli: Our target market consists of the over 60% microfinance institutions in Nigeria and Africa who are struggling to utilize manual processes or other inefficient means to facilitate distribution of financial services to the underserved. These microfinance institutions will benefit from our product because it was developed with their pain points as the motivation. Pacioli provides MFIs with a user experience and customer journey that aligns with their habits, preferences, abilities and life circumstances. With our tailor-made features, it means every microfinance institution using Pacioli would have access to the necessary flexibility that they need.

Pngme: What problems do your target users/customers have? How did you identify the problem? Is it a problem that is specific to your market?

Pacioli: The process of manually onboarding customers for a loan can be boring and take an unnecessarily long time for loan officers and customers at microfinance institutions. Also, during loan repayments (especially standing order loans), frequently the amount deducted from the customers’ bank for the monthly repayment is not accurate. This leaves loan officers with the stress of manually reconciling the disparities, only to arrive at error-ridden results after hours if not days of account reconciliation processes. The consequence of this is unprecedented debt for the MFI. To add to these, more than 60% of microfinance institutions in Africa do not have sufficient funds to acquire and sustain the use of high-end software that may help to automate either or both of the processes of customer onboarding and account reconciliation. This is where Pacioli fills in the gap as a solution that effectively solves their problems with affordability in mind. This problem is specific to the Microfinance Market in Africa and it was identified through several in-person questions and engagements with key stakeholders, which include both junior and senior management staff at microfinance institutions.

Pngme: What are the main challenges you face in getting your product live or in further developing it?

Pacioli: The main problem I am facing in further developing the product is lack of sufficient funds. I have a clear plan to enhance the product into a SaaS and to deploy more variations to suit our target market. However, I do not have sufficient funds to employ more developers to enable me to do this.

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