The Gateway to Africa's Startup Ecosystem
The Gateway to Africa's Startup Ecosystem

15 Fintech Startups Revolutionizing Banking And Financial Services in East Africa

Fintech is thriving in Africa. The continent is rapidly evolving thanks to greater exposure to technology which is causing a paradigm shift in how people do business and handle transactions. The African population is quickly adopting cashless transaction methods and digital money management services to improve their operational efficiency.

This growth is particularly evident in East Africa which has recently witnessed the rise of several establishments leveraging technology to improve financial services for individuals and businesses. Here, we will highlight 15 such businesses that are driving a new narrative in financial services across East Africa.

Pezesha Africa Limited

Year Founded: 2017

Location: Kenya

Dubbed the “Financial Enabler,” Pezesha is a fintech startup focused on closing the fiscal deficit gap that has long hampered MSMEs’ growth across Africa. The company operates a scalable digital lending infrastructure designed to enable MSMEs to obtain capital from both traditional and non-traditional financial institutions.

Pezesha advocates for financial inclusion and has deployed several initiatives to address inequalities in access to formal financial services for Africans. In addition, the company aspires to be the leading marketplace where MSMEs can connect with MFIs, banks, and other financial institutions to secure working capital for business expansion.

Since it commenced operations, Pezesha has connected several small and medium businesses to affordable working capital by matching them with sophisticated financiers seeking to utilize funds on initiatives that generate productivity and growth.


Year Founded: 2016

Location: Kenya

WayaWaya utilizes artificial intelligence and machine learning to facilitate financial inclusion and deploy comprehensive payment solutions for Africans. The startup runs a consolidated fintech platform designed to enable users to conduct instant cross-border transactions.

WayaWaya’s digital infrastructure also incorporates marketing and sales solutions for businesses, offering AI chatbots that can be customized to respond to inquiries and sell products automatically with little to no involvement from the vendor.

WayWaya’s mission is to simplify cross-border and cross-platform banking and to facilitate social commerce for businesses by developing infrastructure that enables intelligent storefronts on popular platforms such as Facebook and Whatsapp.


Year Founded: 2018

Location: Kenya

Kwara is a neobank startup helping credit unions to conduct and manage their operations more efficiently. The company provides solutions targeted at enabling savings and credit cooperative societies (Saccos) to digitize their services.  

Primarily, Kwara’s services are intended to upgrade credit unions into modern digital banks. For example, the company operates a digital banking platform featuring an open API that enables credit unions to digitize their operations as formal financial institutions.

Kwara has made significant progress in its few years of operations. In addition to raising a total of $ 7 million in seed funding, it has also partnered with the Kenya Union of Savings and Credit Cooperatives (KUSCC) securing full access to offer its banking solution to over 4000 Saccos in Kenya.

The company also acquired Kuscco’s subsidiary, IRNET, as a part of its efforts to double down on informal financial institutions in Kenya. Kwara currently operates in Kenya, South Africa, and the Philippines with the intention to expand its coverage to other countries in Africa.


Year Founded: 2018

Location: Kenya

LipaLater is a leading fintech services provider enabling financial inclusion for ecommerce users and retail shoppers in Africa. The company offers point-of-sale financing for businesses and users to help them purchase items even if they cannot afford the total cost at the time.

LipaLater has tapped into the rapidly growing digitization in Africa, leveraging it to develop a unique Buy Now and Pay Later API that businesses can integrate into their ecommerce setups. This way, companies can offer flexible payment options for consumers, letting them purchase items and pay in affordable monthly installments. 

LipaLater is revolutionizing the consumer credit landscape and catalyzing the future of shopping, ecommerce, and payments. The company currently serves hundreds of thousands of users in 6 countries across Africa. 


Year Founded: 2017

Location: Tanzania

Nala is a fintech platform revolutionizing cross-border transactions in Africa. The company seeks to increase economic opportunities for Africans by creating systems that support fast, reliable, and affordable cross-border payments.

Nala operates a digital infrastructure that facilitates peer-to-peer transactions, bill payments, money transfers, and other general financial activities without requiring an internet connection. 

Over the years, Nala has made tremendous progress, winning the Ecobank Fintech challenge in 2018 and also participating in the Y-combinator program in 2019.

The company is committed to helping people find the path to financial excellence through savings and investment opportunities as well as systems to enable easy transactions.


Year Founded: 2021

Location: Rwanda

Payday is a neobank operating a fintech infrastructure that enables users in Africa to send and receive money both globally and locally at zero charge rate. Payday’s platform facilitates cash transfers, bill payments, virtual card services, and foreign bank accounts opening. 

Payday has grown steadily since it commenced operation. The company now serves over 350,000 users in multiple African countries with a consistent addition of approximately 4000 new users per day.

In addition, most users have good reviews for Payday’s services and products. This is a result of the efforts the company has invested in helping Africans avoid payment roadblocks they often experience with traditional banks.


Year Founded: 2016

Location: Tanzania

ClickPesa is a payment technology company that provides digital business tools and payment services for SMEs in Africa. Its virtual solution enables cross-border money transfers and bulk remittances for organizations and individuals across the continent. 

ClickPesa has consolidated and simplified payment services in one infrastructure for businesses in emerging markets across Africa. The product connects with bank accounts and existing mobile wallets to enable seamless payments. It also offers e-invoice, and payout services to users.

ClickPesa operates with the primary objective to open up the continent to global business by helping organizations reduce costs and friction in transactions. So far, the company has been able to open up a sizable segment of the East African market and is on course to replicate it across the entire continent.

Xente Tech

Year Founded: 2014

Location: Uganda

Xente is a financial technology company solving corporate banking challenges for businesses in Africa. The company helps organizations to create and manage corporate accounts digitally. 

Xente operates a digital platform where companies can access financial and technical services such as payment and finance operations automation. Aside from creating accounts, Xente’s software also lets clients obtain corporate visa cards, and access mobile money functionalities, as well as credit and expense management, all in one solution.  

Xente has received backing from multiple financiers and has consistently invested resources into expanding its user base and operations while continuing to enhance its offering.


Year Founded: 2020

Location: Kenya

Imalipay is a financial services enabler empowering companies in Africa with tools to succeed in local and global markets. The company operates a comprehensive API platform called Phoenix that offers features a number of financial options.

The primary products on the platform include money savings wallets, a payments system, auto-reconciliation for businesses, loan management, and a Fintech-as-a-Service functionality that enable businesses to seamlessly set up their own financial offerings in a matter of days or weeks. 

Imalipay operates with the goal to unlock the next billion-dollar businesses, gig economy platforms, and marketplaces in Africa. And they’re providing organizations in Africa with a robust Fintech-as-a-Service infrastructure and API solution they need to curate financial services for their users.


Year Founded: 2017

Location: Kenya

Workpay is an HR administration company offering cloud-based payroll and employee management solutions to organizations. The company was originally TozzaPlus before rebranding to Workpay in 2019.

Workpay operates an end-to-end payroll system offering a host of benefits to organizations such as employee time-tracking, traditional payroll management, remote teams payroll, insurance, mobile money, and other employee remuneration services.

Workpay is a graduate of the Y Combinator program and a beneficiary of Google’s Black Founders Fund Africa. The company’s solution is being used by several notable African companies including Flutterwave, Paystack, and Yoco.

Workpay has also demonstrated significant growth prospects over the years, having expanded into countries in multiple regions of Africa and with plans to go beyond the continent’s borders.


Year Founded: 2017

Location: Kenya

Asilimia is a fintech company enabling micro businesses in Africa to digitize their operations. Asilima targets traditional retail merchants in Kenya with digital solutions designed to help them manage their books, process payments, and avoid bad credit situations.

Asilimia’s digital platform also called Leja offers three primary services to users including bookkeeping, payment system integration, and credit management.

With Leja, users can track cash flows, manage their customer relationships, and keep tabs on buyers owing them. The payment functionality allows users to manage payments and eliminate loopholes in their financial processes. Asilimia also offers business loans to help businesses grow.

Currently, Asilimia has over 50,000 individuals and businesses using its services. That’s not surprising given the solution is easy to use, secure, and effective. 


Year Founded: 2015

Location: Kenya

Flexpay is a financial inclusion enabler helping organizations offer flexible payment solutions to their customers. The company assists businesses to make their products more accessible and empower customers to get the things they need without necessarily paying a huge upfront cost.

Flexpay’s primary product is a merchant-embedded digital Save Now Buy Later system. They created this product as a better alternative to the BNPL system which often encourages impulse buying and debt by allowing consumers to make purchases and pay in installments. 

Flexpay encourages prudent saving habits in users by letting them save up for the things they need instead of going into debt to buy things they can do without. The company also collaborates with brands, retailers, ecommerce marketplaces, and banks to reward customers for saving up to make purchases.

Flexpay’s product is the first of its kind embedded service incentivizing saving practices in purchasers. The company is backed by Techstars and Google LaunchPad. It’s also a beneficiary of Google’s Black Founders Fund.


Year Founded: 2016

Location: Uganda

Numida is a credit financier helping micro businesses in Africa to grow and scale their operations. The company primarily targets credit-constrained semi-formal micro and small businesses with working capital loans.

The company seeks to address the prohibitive loan challenge faced by microbusinesses in Kenya. So, it enables them to access unsecured debt funding up to $5,000 simply by downloading their digital app. All loans are facilitated and disbursed via the company’s platform and borrowers get the money via mobile payments. 

Numida has mastered how to score and disburse unsecured loans to businesses while maintaining an excellent collection rate. The company is performing excellently even with strict competition from loan sharks and mobile lenders such as Tala, Jumo, and Branch.


Year Founded: 2014

Location: Seychelles

BitMEX is a product of HDR Global Trading Limited which operates as a cryptocurrency derivative trading platform. BitMex is an exchange where investors can access crypto products in global digital assets markets. Simply put, it is a place for users to buy, sell, swap, store, and convert cryptocurrencies.

BitMEX was ranked 3rd in trades volume in 2019 by CoinMarketCap and is currently one of the biggest crypto trading platforms globally. It created and deployed Perpetualswap which is one of the most traded crypto products in history and has continued to roll out innovative products ever since.

Awamo 360

Year Founded: 2015

Location: Kenya

Awamo is a digital software provider developing solutions to challenges in the Kenyan financial sector. The company provides a cloud-based Software-as-a-Service infrastructure designed to digitize services offered by microfinance institutions and Saccos; primarily, credit-risk and portfolio management processes. 

The company’s SaaS infrastructure also includes a biometric verification technology designed to bolster data security for clients and mitigate fraud. Other services covered by Awamo’s solution include credit scoring and reporting, banking, microinsurance, mobile money, and digital payments.

Awamo’s solution makes credit facilities more accessible for low-income borrowers by providing MFIs with suitable solutions to facilitate easy loan administration and monitoring. It also helps to decrease transaction costs, off-set risks, and ultimately lower interest rates.

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