The 2023 Visa Everywhere initiative (VEI), a global innovation project and competition for start-ups and fintech enterprises, has announced Kacha Digital Financial Service as the winner of the Ethiopian version. Kacha Digital Financial Service is the first privately held provider of price instruments in Ethiopia.
Cash prizes totaling $25,000 USD were won by Kachar, followed by $15,000 USD by Qena, and $10,000 USD by Smile Pay.
“We are thrilled to announce the Visa Everywhere Initiative Ethiopia competition winners. This competition has demonstrated the breadth of solutions available for resolving the current and future trade-related issues facing our country. “We are happy to celebrate these start-ups who have shown amazing ingenuity and a profound commitment to creating a good impact in their fields,” says YaredEndale, Country Manager for Visa Ethiopia.
The competition attracted nearly 200 applicants from throughout the country, each of whom had a strategy for providing modern payment and commerce solutions to customers and businesses.
The locally hosted and in-house designed Kacha platform provides services like microsaving, P2P transfers, microcredit, microinsurance, pension products, bill payments, and Buy Now Pay Later and is accredited by the Ethiopian Information, Network Security.
Inaddition to the Kacha wallet, the start-up is under test to launch a unified inbound payment platform with the capacity of remittance, bill pay, air time top-up and crowdfunding over Visa CyberSource enabling Ethiopian diaspora use a single interface for all services and fund using just their card.
“I was surprised by the win. We have been working day and night to bring this solution to life and we have faced numerous challenges. As an entirely interoperable mobile money service provider, we have invested in the National Switch and completed system integration enabling us to leverage the infrastructure and hit any bank account and mobile wallet accounts from Kacha. We have also partnered with more than 10 regional and local banks, insurance companies and microfinances, 6 remittance agencies including MFS Africa and more than 10 development partners. Our technology is tried and tested, and this win gives us more momentum to work harder”, said
AbrehamTilahun CEO from Kacha.
Qena is a financial technology company that provides a cloud-based platform for banks to offer digital lending services to micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), social housing funds (SHFs), and individuals. The platform uses alternative credit scoring and decision engine technology to assess the creditworthiness of borrowers, even those with limited or no formal credit history.
Smilepay is a peer-to-bank mobile app that helps Ethiopians in the diaspora send money, buy airtime and pay bills for their friends and family in Africa. The app uses a variety of technologies to make it easy,
fast, and affordable to send money across Africa.
Since the competition’s launch in 2015, VEI has gone on to help start-ups representing more than 100 countries to raise over US$16 billion in funding. The VEI network of start-ups is now close to 12,000.
The Visa Everywhere Initiative
Visa Everywhere Initiative is an open innovation program that helps start-ups unlock new opportunities and gives them a global platform to demonstrate their ground-breaking solutions.
The program first launched in the U.S. in 2015, and quickly expanded into a global program. To date, 8,500 start-ups have participated, and have collectively raised more than $16 billion in funding.
The Visa Everywhere Initiative is open to all start-ups who offer innovative solutions to the payments and commerce challenges of tomorrow. It also helps support start-ups and fintech in two ways:
As a competition, it gives them a global stage to pitch their solutions to a panel of payments experts, win prizes and gain wider attention in the sector.
As a program, it plugs start-ups into our global network of partners. This network is accessible to our Visa teams from all over the world when looking for solutions.