Picture: UNSPLASH/BABATUNDE OLAIJIDE
Picture: UNSPLASH/BABATUNDE OLAIJIDE

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll have noticed that a ‘brick’ several hundred million dollars heavy has descended on the continent in an unprecedented period of time, most of it venture capital earmarked for fintech start-ups in Nigeria.

On this episode, Indian tech founder Arunjay Katakam joins Andile Masuku and Osarumen Osamuyi to extend our conversation about the implications of all the hype surrounding Africa’s fintech scene and what the broader implications might be for the continent’s tech ecosystem at large.

We’re still vibing off of our last show, dubbed African Fintech Signal Check 2019: Nigeria’s Killing It! (Part 1).

That show, which guest featured Wiza Jalakasi, unpacked some of the most pertinent events in Africa’s fintech landscape and in the legacy financial services arena over the past couple of months or so.

If you haven’t listened to that show (episode 134), do that before you dig into this one.

Arunjay Katakam is a former EY consultant who has co-founded three start-ups, exiting two — one of which was eventually sold to Twitter. Today Arunjay is co-founder and CEO of the London-based cross-border remittance start-up Yooz and advises founders at DFS Lab. His extensive tech entrepreneurship experience spans work in developing markets in Asia and Africa, as well as developed markets in the Global North.

Aspects in this episode include:

1) Arunjay suggests there are three major cost factors/points of friction preventing mobile money from enjoying WhatsApp-level ubiquity and mainstream adoption. [18:50]

2) Can the Economic Community of West African States’ (Ecowas) Eco currency plans lay the groundwork for smoother regional money flows? [26:25]

3) Will the recent $20m investment by “credit-as-a-service” start-up Migo (formerly Mines.io) — designated for taking on the Brazilian market — spark a new trend towards African/Africa-focused startups taking on key markets outside the continent? [31:54]

4) In what ways might the dynamics of engineering fintech start-up success in India be comparable with the same in African key markets? [35:53]

5) Does “a rising tide raise all boats”, or will large fintech start-ups such as OPay and PalmPay stifle innovation by smaller players? [51:42]

6) How might mobile network operators (MNOs) respond to the prospect of wholesale disruption as “over-the-top (OTT) Application 2.0” takes hold, and what lessons might they draw from Chinese and Indian ecosystems to inform their strategies? [57:54]

Bonus topics: Can successful start-ups be built without having to tell lies, even apparently “harmless” ones? And Is RxAll Africa’s own Theranos in the making? [9:13]

This podcast is brought to you by African Tech Roundup in partnership with MultimediaLIVE.  

• African Tech Roundup is a Johannesburg-based media and insights organisation, aka village square, which tracks the progress of Africa’s emerging digital, tech and innovation industries.