Last year, Celullant bagged the champion’s crown. This year, Kenyan-based software company, Kocela has emerged as the winner in the Payments and Transfers category at the African FinTech Awards 2017. The winners were announced on October 13, 2017 after a 2-day intense pitching battle between African startups.

Though Africa’s Fintech sector is booming and attracting lots of investors, only a handful of countries in Africa are thriving in the startup ecosystem. Some of these startups that seek to provide solutions to the continent’s most pertinent financial challenges are still low-performing.

The African FinTech Awards, therefore, seeks to reward the continent’s most innovative and disruptive Fintech companies.

About 500 handpicked entrepreneurs, bankers and investors, meet at the event to expand their network, share knowledge and develop business. The awards are part of the annual Finance Indaba Africa – the largest annual expo and conference for financial professionals in Africa. It brings together thousands of technology dealers, tools, platforms, experts, CFOs and the continent’s most inspiring thought leaders.

The African FinTech Awards consist of two rounds. The top 3 companies in each category are generated by combining results from the public and expert voting. In the second round, top 3 companies in each category pitch to a panel of judges and a winner is selected.

On the road to victory

Kocela’s journey to victory began with a nomination to this year’s African Fintech Awards. This meant one thing for the tech firm. The African Fintech community recognized Kocela as one of Africa’s most promising companies in the Fintech sector.

It was only after 2 months of public voting that Kocela made it to the top of the public vote, emerging as top in Kenya and top in the Payments and Transfers category. But it still had to compete with two other startups before grabbing the trophy.

The firm then made a headway to the next stage – pitching at the African FinTech Awards. Along with its two rivals, Celullant (last year’s winner) and Nomanini, Kocela pitched before a panel of judges. Once again, it emerged victorious in its category.

According to the firm’s CEO, Abel Msai, “It was great to compete on stage with the biggest players in Africa and emerge winners.”

CEO of Kocela, Abel Msai pitching at the African FinTech Awards
CEO of Kocela, Abel Msai pitching at the African FinTech Awards

About Kocela

Kocela is a 4-year old Kenyan software company that focuses on developing mobile applications for smartphones. The company developed the famous KCB Mobile Banking app that is used by the Kenyan banking group as well as in Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi.

The company’s products include a mobile banking/payments platform that allows financial institutions to avail their suits of service through mobile (app/web/USSD). It also includes backend tools for administration, predictive analysis, reports and reconciliation. Kocela is a cross-platform compatible system that combines M-Pesa, PesaLink, mViSa and Masterpass to allow customers pay directly to any mobile wallet or mobile money merchant.

Here’s the complete list of winners at the African FinTech Awards 2017 under the various categories:

  • Overall winners: ThisIsMe and Easy Equities (tie)
  • Blockchain and Bitcoin: The Sun Exchange
  • Incumbent Banks: FNB
  • Innovative Banking: ThisIsMe
  • InvesTech: Easy Equities
  • Lending and Financing: Ovamba
  • Payments and Transfers: Kocela

Before now, the continent was yet to see highly performing Fintech startups. But Kocela’s recent rise to power during this year’s African FinTech Awards, is a clear sign that things are changing. Kocela’s victory will definitely spur the rise of many other FinTech startups on the continent that will provide even better financial services through tech.

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