Joburg-based startup Ukheshe Payment Solutions has won second place at the first KPMG Private Enterprise Global Tech Innovator Africa competition, which came to an exciting close this week. The competition is aimed at recognising the fastest-growing, most innovative technology companies across the continent.
Africa’s prospective unicorn
Founded in 2018, Ukheshe was showcased with 75 other worthy entrants from across Africa, cementing the continent’s place as the next growth and investment frontier.
Ukheshe is destined to be one of the notable players
Ukheshe’s vision aims to democratise digital financial services by simplifying the accessibility of disparate technologies. With its API-first market disruption plan, the fintech is already taking steps to future unicorn status.
Since its launch, Ukheshe’s locally developed universal fintech API Eclipse has helped facilitate three telecom companies, 16 banks and fintechs, nine issuers, 60 partnerships, 3 000 billers and 334 029 merchants.
Clayton Hayward, Ukheshe CEO, believes Africa is the world’s fastest-growing market and is ripe for technological disruption. Fintech funding has also doubled year on year for the last five years hitting $2.4-billion in 2020. “There are currently six unicorns across the continent with many racing to capture a share of the fintech pie. The key to success is rapid scaling across the continent. This is not only good for growth but an imperative for risk management to help manage regulatory or country risk in a diverse environment,” he commented.
Hayward thanked KPMG for the excellent platform it provides to network with other entrepreneurs and stakeholders: “We are delighted with our second-place win and want to thank KPMG for such a great opportunity. It was made very evident throughout this experience that Africa will remain one of the key hubs of innovation and we predict that the next decade will be significant.”
According to KPMG, the technology sector is an essential contributor to the health of the local and global economy. Hayward said it is clear that opportunities for businesses like Ukheshe are now global. “There is an estimated untapped $140-trillion in the payments market. Global credit card payments, both consumer and business, make up only roughly one-tenth of the total consumer-to-business and business-to-business movement of money. Leaving the remainder of the market still untapped,” Hayward clarified.
The recently declared African Continental Free Trade area is potentially the largest free trade zone in the world and it is expected to increase the volume of cross-border transactions dramatically: “There has never been a better time to think continent-wide and Ukheshe is destined to be one of the notable players in this scenario,” concluded Hayward.