Cape Town, known for its beautiful beaches, attractions and stunning landscape, is South Africa’s second largest city by population. Besides its reputation for a strong tourist destination, it is also a major tech and fintech hub not just for South Africa but for the African continent. As reported before, Cape Town made our list of the African continent’s four emerging major fintech hubs – the others being Lagos in Nigeria, Nairobi in Kenya and Johannesburg.
Speaking of the ladder, despite Johannesburg being South Africa’s largest city and financial hub, Cape Town as well has a strong tech ecosystem. Shy of half of South Africa’s tech companies are based in the Western Cape (where Cape Town is located at). In addition, Cape Town accounts for 75% of the country’s venture capital deals. Of the more than 500 entrepreneurial companies in Capetown’s tech sector, around 20 percent are in ecommerce and SaaS while 15 percent are in fintech. Both synergies of Cape Town and Johannesburg combined put South Africa as a strong contender in the global fintech space. Back to Cape Town, from last year it is estimated there are over 150 companies based there in the fintech space. Some of those currently based in Cape Town or have roots there include the likes of Wealth Migrate, Lulaend, Nomanini, and Inclusivity Solutions. We would like to highlight a few of the recent Cape Town fintech successes companies in detail:
Launched in 2013, Wallettec is a mobile money integration company that has provided mobile payment solutions in more than 14 African countries such as Kenya, Uganda, Namibia, and its native South Africa. According to an article from Disrupt Africa, the company started life working with banking institutions but then later focused on working with mobile money providers and making mobile money more accessible and easier to integrate with multiple providers in multiple countries. Their successes have now led Wallettec to exclusively focus on sports betting, where it believes it can deliver much-needed solutions that are effective, seamless, and of great benefit to the industry.
Mukuru is a remittances-led financial service company that has become one of the largest in the African continent. Founded in 2004, Mukuru has grown to become a global fintech powerhouse. The company aims to provide a service to migrants which allows them to move and use money in a convenient, safe, and affordable method. According to an article from Venture Burn, having more humble beginnings where the company was completely short on cash from the start, Sandy Rheeder, CIO of Mukuru explains that the company looks beyond technology to offer a premium service to its users. From the same source, Sandy Rheeder says, “In essence, Mukuru has harnessed robust digital platforms in a complex African context to innovate and provide a critical service to many communities. And while technology will always be an important enabler, for Mukuru it is about delivering a service to customers where they are – and finding the best and most robust solution available.”
Another of South Africa’s fintech successes, and probably Africa as a whole, has been Luno. With its roots stemming from Cape Town, Luno is a leading global cryptocurrency company on a mission to upgrade the world to a better financial system. With a team of over 280 Luno currently has its headquarters in London with regional hubs in Singapore and Cape Town. With over 3 million customers spanning in over 40 countries, Luno’s products and services make it safe and easy to buy, sell, store and learn about cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, according to its website.
Another very successful company is JUMO, a full technology stack for building and running financial services. According to their website, they use advanced data science and machine learning to create the fastest and leanest financial services infrastructure. Founded in 2015 in London by Andrew Watkins-Ball, the company has a vision of reimagining finance in emerging markets. The founding team started working to prove that data can be used to predict the financial behaviour of millions of people without access to finance, allowing for credit risk, engineering and other capabilities to be developed with industry-leading talent. JUMO’s first ecosystem partnerships were created with Tigo, Airtel and MTN to bring short-term loan products to people and small businesses in Kenya, Zambia and Uganda.
Yoco is an African technology company that builds tools and services to help small businesses get paid, run their business better, and grow. According to their website, they believe that by opening up more possibilities for entrepreneurs to be successful, they can help create more jobs, enable people to thrive and help to drive the economy forward. The foundations of Yoco were meant to make life easier for small business owners. Their current payments hardware and software powers over 70 000 small businesses in South Africa. Furthermore, on their website, they say, “Whether you’re on a street corner or in a fancy mall, we provide an accessible, simple platform to help you start, run and grow your business.” Katlego Maphai is their current Chief Executive Officer.