Exploring Africa’s blossoming fintech ecosystem, The Fintech Times delves into the success of Visa’s Accelerator Program from the cohort’s perspective, uncovering the program’s instrumental role in fostering and bolstering startups across the continent.
Taking place virtually over the course of 12 weeks, The Visa Africa Fintech Accelerator program aims to support the growth of fintech startups across the continent. The first edition of the accelerator saw a cohort of 23 startups from countries across Africa receive support via expertise, connections, technology, and investment funding.
Following the program, Visa plans to further support the fintech startups with investment and other resources in order to help accelerate their growth and make a significant impact on the African digital economy.
As part of a special video interview series, Simon Ward, CEO and Founder of Floatpays, an employee benefits company that aims to promote financial inclusion for everybody, sat down with The Fintech Times to share his thoughts on the African market, as well as the company’s involvement with the Visa accelerator.
A maturing ecosystem
Considering the current African ecosystem, Ward said that “maturing” is the most appropriate description, believing there’s potential for fintechs to take hold in the financial world.
He said: “There’s a lot of enthusiasm in partnering with fintechs, which in our sense didn’t exist a while ago. It was very much traditional business and traditional banks, but as we move forward, we’re seeing more of those types of traditional organisations wanting to partner with startups to drive innovation through these ecosystems. It’s definitely a maturing landscape and a very exciting one.”
It’s an interest in partnerships that was particularly valuable for Floatpays during the Visa Accelerator, with introductions to the other members of the cohort being a key aspect of their involvement.
“Meeting the other 22 startups in the group has been extremely valuable to us,” he explained. “To understand their challenges, what they’re looking at doing, what Africa means to them in their specific region and potential partnerships which could come from that was fantastic. There are a lot of collaborations and ideas which could actually formulate new business thinking through the program.”
The benefits of the program have been exponential to the startups involved, with Ward explaining it has been an “exciting few months to be a part of the Visa Fintech Accelerator program.”
Ward continued: “First and foremost, one of the attractions of the accelerator was the direct interaction that we could have with Visa. We have a few product ideas we’re starting to test out in terms of financial inclusion and having a partner like Visa to help us on that journey was a huge advantage.
“Having mentors on the program to sense check where you are at has been great, we’re all at different stages in our business evolution so Plug and Play have done a great job of bringing in a nice variety of mentors where we could quiz them and benefit from the experience in terms of helping mature our startups and really get us ready for that next stage of growth.”
To learn more about Floatpays, its position in the African market and involvement in the Visa Fintech Accelerator, watch the full video interview below.