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Ajua acquires Kenyan fintech WayaWaya 

Ajua has acquired  WayaWaya, the Kenya-based Artificial Intelligence [AI] and Machine Learning [ML] known for its innovative Janja platform.

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Nairobi-based Ajua, the integrated Customer Experience Management solution for businesses in Africa, has acquired WayaWaya, the Kenya-based Artificial Intelligence [AI] and Machine Learning [ML] known for its innovative Janja platform.

WayaWaya’s innovative platform enables borderless banking and payments across apps and social media platforms for an undisclosed sum.

Ajua acquires WayaWaya to help SMEs improve their customer experience

Kenfield Griffith, founder, and CEO of Ajua comments on the acquisition.

“The acquisition of WayaWaya is an important milestone for us, as we make a significant leap in ensuring the customer experience journey for businesses across the continent is seamless. Integrating WayaWaya’s technology significantly complements our product suite and gives us the ability to automate our clients’ businesses and grow their revenues, which is an extremely powerful proposition for our customers of all sizes, across Africa. From our experience in this area, we understand the CX fundamentals that drive growth for our customers and we want to bring this intelligence to SMEs across the continent.”

By acquiring WayaWaya, Ajua will integrate the Kenyan fintechs’ janja.me product to automate its customer experience journey into its product stack. This patented and unique smart AI and ML product built by WayaWaya will provide SMEs the ability to automate responses.

Businesses will now be able to make use of the intelligent messaging through a number of social platforms such as Facebook messenger, Telegram, WhatsApp, and others. It further enables consumers to conduct cross-border payments and automate customer support.

“The additional reach this acquisition brings allows Ajua to scale significantly within the SME vertical, as we provide our customers today, and in the future, the tools they need to grow in Africa and beyond. We continue to be bullish on the point that customer experience and customer engagement are the engine for growth for businesses across the continent and they are disciplines that are critical factors in driving productivity and revenue growth,” adds Griffith.

Ajua (Supplied)Ajua

Founded in 2012, Ajua is an Integrated Customer Experience platform for businesses on the continent. The innovative company combines both technology and the customer experience. Ajua has created several products that provide real-time customer feedback at the point of service, for small and large businesses across the continent.

Ajua overall aims to digitise and grow African SMEs with its service and product offerings as it uses data and analytics to connect companies with their customers in real-time. This service provides SMEs with the tools to improve their customer knowledge and experience with the overall impact resulting in SMEs increase of sales.

Teddy Ogallo, founder of WayaWaya and new VP of Product APIs and Integrations for Ajua comments on the acquisition.

“Ajua’s focus on introducing and scaling customer service and customer experience for the continent – and essentially how they help businesses deliver excellence for their customers – is something my team and I have long admired. Seeing how WayaWaya’s technology can complement Ajua’s innovative products and services, and help scale and monetize businesses, is an exciting opportunity for us, and we are happy that our teams will be collaborating to build something unique for the continent”.

Read more: West African tech startup launches SaaS solution for African micro retailers
Read more: Flutterwave and Worldpay partner to improve online card payments for eCommerce businesses in SA and Nigeria

Featured image: Ajua (Supplied)

Source: https://ventureburn.com/2021/04/ajua-acquires-kenyan-fintech-wayawaya/

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Hack the Normal winning innovators announced

The Hack the Normal online hackathon has announced the winning innovations in each of the event’s categories for this year’s event.

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Hosted by Defy in partnership with ATÖLYE and supported by Defy’s sister company, Beko, Hack the Normal an online hackathon has announced the winning innovations.

The hackathon aimed to facilitate and showcase ideas for products and services that could improve life in Africa

Hack the Normal attracted over 1 000 applicants from 52 countries worldwide together with 294 mentors. From this, the hackathon selected several teams with product concepts in various stages of development.

Between 5 and 7 March, the teams worked on each of their ideas. During the hackathon, each contestant worked on several elements such as product prototyping and storytelling with the help of industry experts. The event also included keynote speakers and panel discussions.

“Our core goal is to improve the quality of life for all Africans: from our employees, to our loyal customers and to those who, like us, believe in the betterment of society, the environment and the continent, CEO of Defy Appliances, Evren Albas said in a statement.

Defy Hack the Normal (Supplied)Hack the Normal hackathon category winners

In the Sustainable Living category, the winner was the DSP – Biogas, a durable cooker that uses biogas to warm food items. Second place went to shoe-making initiative Shoeciety while Third Place went to the volunteer finding platform, Assistant Volunteer.

In the Financial Solutions category, product subscription model Africa Xaas took first place. In second place was Remit2Africa, a web solution that collects and compares remittances for people and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). Third Place went to Boku, a blockchain platform for local businesses.

In the Healthy Living category, Industrio, a water transport solution for rural communities, took first place. Industrio was followed by food delivery service GreenGlow in second place followed by hospital patient feedback app Borafya in third.

First Place winners received a cash prize of $5 000. Second place winners received $3 000 and third place winners got $2 000.

The winning teams will also have the chance to work with Defy to further their projects. Defy will also provide promotional support and access to customers through their channels with the ultimate aim of incorporating the projects into the company’s ecosystem.

Read more: SMEs: Budget hacks to boost your business despite the pandemic
Read more: SA healthtech startup launches platform for African nurses

Feature image: Marvin Meyer via Unsplash

“Our core goal is to improve the quality of life for all Africans: from our employees, to our loyal customers and to those who, like us, believe in the betterment of society, the environment and the continent, CEO of Defy Appliances, Evren Albas said in a statement.

Source: https://ventureburn.com/2021/05/hack-the-normal-winning-innovators-announced/

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SMEs: Budget hacks to boost your business despite the pandemic –

Abraham shares his top hacks for small, medium, and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs) that need support but don’t know where to start.

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The lockdowns during the pandemic have devastated SA’s small businesses, and many business owners find themselves looking for a few clever, cost-effective, and sure-fire hacks to ensure business growth during the Covid-19 digital economy.

Abraham shares his top hacks for small, medium, and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs) that need support but don’t know where to start

According to Soul Abraham, Old Mutual Insure’s Chief Executive for Retail, businesses that managed to get back up following the devastation caused by the height of Covid-19 now need to focus on building and protecting their businesses to last.

“Many owners mistakenly believe that their businesses can only achieve growth if they invest more resources. This couldn’t be further from the truth. While it may seem like a challenging thing to do if you have limited resources, especially in light of having emerged from the initial lockdowns of the pandemic, the reality is that great businesses are started by people who do a lot with what they have,” says Abraham.

He adds that the issue of a lack of resources, whether it be people, capital, or time, are constraints that plague most small to medium business owners, but It needn’t be a reason to hold them back from success.

Below, Abraham shares his top hacks for small, medium, and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs) that need support but don’t know where to start.

Hack #1: Take advantage of the opportunity in digital

One of the biggest challenges that SMMEs continue to face post the height of Covid-19 is effectively adapting to a new way of working in a digital age. From Zoom meetings and doing business over the phone to closing deals on email and managing employees remotely, the pandemic accelerated the digital move.

“We view digital as the lifeline needed to re-ignite the small business sector, so small businesses must upskill themselves and take advantage of this opportunity.”

Abraham says that if you do not offer your customers an opportunity to interact online, you could be missing out on sales. This could include building a website, which can help you create space for inventory, attract new online customers, explain your offering in detail, and allow you to increase your business hours to 24/7.

“Consider the free tools at your disposal, like a business profile on Google, or free digital educational resources from Grow with Google.”

Hack #2: Create a solid social media presence

According to research, 60% of people say they discover new products on Instagram, so there is a perfect chance that you are missing out if you are not on social media.

“Having a social media presence that aligns to your brand is very powerful if you want to grow your business. Although it is a big responsibility, as it comes with risk if you do not manage it properly, you stand to gain if you make sure that you have an active business profile,” says Abraham, adding that whether it is LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram, all of these social media offerings have their purpose in the business world. You need to consider which channel works best for your industry and business aligned to your business strategy.

Hack #3: Collaborate (yes, for free) with others

One of the essential tools a business owner has is collaboration, says Abraham.

“Employees of businesses that collaborate with their customers, community and industry enjoy benefits like the opportunity of new learnings, the chance to expand their networks, a sense of belonging, improved innovation, shared expenses and increased sales,” says Abraham.

The first trick in getting this right, says Abraham, is to know what you can offer and know what you need in return.

“For example, you could offer your talents and ask for expertise in exchange. Two parties with different skills can solve a problem better together or can offer your customers something extra that they need,” says Abraham.

Hack #4: Be business-savvy with free resources

As simple as it sounds, if you are cash-strapped, you will need all of the support you can get for free.

“Although there are lots of free resources online, it gets tricky knowing which ones are going to offer you value in return for your time,” says Abraham. “In light of this, look for local resources that may be better adapted for the South African business climate or culture.”

He says it may be better to spend the time to find the right resources that will truly move the needle on your business’s risk and growth from reputable sources and partners.

“At the end of the day, to protect your business and ensure it withstands the challenging times we are in, using easily accessible and practical tools, resources, and support, can mean the difference between surviving or thriving during this economic downturn and digital age,” concludes Abraham.

Old Mutual Insure offers a free online business toolkit called the Business Growth Box – designed to effortlessly guide and empower small businesses to operate effectively and prosper in a digital age.

This article was written by Soul Abraham, Old Mutual Insure’s Chief Executive for Retail.

Featured image: Gene Gallin via Unsplash

He adds that the issue of a lack of resources, whether it be people, capital, or time, are constraints that plague most small to medium business owners, but It needn’t be a reason to hold them back from success.

Source: https://ventureburn.com/2021/05/smes-budget-hacks-to-boost-your-business-despite-the-pandemic/

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New data report shows fintech investment in Africa on the rise –

A new report by Catalyst Fund and Briter Bridges has indicated that fintech investment across emerging markets, including Africa, is increasing.

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A new report by tech accelerator Catalyst Fund and data research company Briter Bridges has indicated that fintech investment across emerging markets, including Africa, is increasing.

Catalyst Fund published The State of Fintech in Emerging Markets Report on 6 May

in addition to the rising numbers, the report shows insight on and acquisition strategies favoured by startups, and the popularity of embedded finance models.

However, there remain shortfalls in demographic representation and the average size of seed deals on the continent.

“We were particularly happy to see that the performance of fintech companies in emerging markets remained strong, and grew in terms of users, throughout COVID-19,” said Briter Bridges Director, Briter Bridges in a statement.

What did the data report show about fintech investment?

The report surveyed 177 startups and 33 investors from across Africa, India, and Latin America.

According to the data report, fintech investment in Africa and other emerging markets has increased during the last five years. The amount of investment across the regions totaled $23 billion. Furthermore, Africa is experiencing a growing number of early-stage deals.

However, while seed and pre-seed deals in Africa are rising, their average sizes are still lower than that of other regions.

Africa seed rounds on average yield $1 million. In India and Latin America, the rounds on average yield $3 million.

Meanwhile, embedded finance models, financial services offered by non-bank entities, are becoming more popular. This is due to fintech offerings becoming embedded into other product services such as agriculture and e-Commerce. But, this fintech opportunity is still in the minority.

75% of startups use partnerships and digital media as their main customer acquisition strategies. This is particularly the case with startups offering financial infrastructure and payment products. However, agent networks are still essential for startups to reach their base.

Previously underrepresented groups, such as women and migrants, still make up a small number of fintech customers. Underserved groups made up less than 25% of the total customer base among the majority of surveyed startups.

However, 81% of startups said they intend to target these segments.

“As fintechs play an even bigger role in financial inclusion, investors have indicated greater interest in both financial and social returns, which will likely translate into more resources and more attention from global players paid to these startups, especially in cash-dominated economies,” Giuliani said.

The detailed report can be found here.

Read more: Joburg-based fibrePOYNT receives funding to provide internet to township
Read more: African money gateway Paystack launches in South Africa

Feature image: Adeolu Eletu via Unsplash

“We were particularly happy to see that the performance of fintech companies in emerging markets remained strong, and grew in terms of users, throughout COVID-19,” said Briter Bridges Director, Briter Bridges in a statement.

Source: https://ventureburn.com/2021/05/new-data-report-shows-fintech-investment-in-africa-on-the-rise/

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