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Building Africa’s next fintech unicorn

Ukheshe started with a humble proposition: bring electronic payments to the unbanked. As Ukheshe grew, it saw the broader issue: it’s not just that many people are unbanked; many financial institutions don’t have the digital means to engage with more modern audiences.

When it comes to using QR codes, USSD payments, mobile apps, web interfaces and such, most banks find it too complicated. They have to coordinate the services of multiple providers and vendors, all while navigating the complex world of financial and data regulations. Ukheshe realised it had the answer, prompting it to think bigger.

The result is Eclipse, an innovative platform and API that consolidates numerous digital banking channels. It opens the way to a new milestone for Ukheshe: becoming a fintech unicorn, a startup valued at USD$1 billion.

From issuing cards to KYC, channelled through web, mobile, QR, USSD and even WhatsApp, Eclipse is the one-stop digital platform to enable next-generation banking services. And it’s attracting all the right attention. Nedbank, Tanda and Telkom are some of the customers using Eclipse to create payment services. Ukheshe has been growing its inter-African customer base, and it’s gearing up to expand that strategy and build its value.

A key part of that plan is the appointment of a new COO. Anton van der Merwe is a well-known figure in the market, having represented the likes of BankServ and Mastercard in numerous executive roles. He is excited about banking’s digital future.

Watch Ukheshe. Over the next three to five years, it will grow, entering new markets, making strategic acquisitions, and helping its customers reach everyone in Africa and kickstart the continent’s payments revolution.

* A version of this advertorial piece, written by James Francis, first appeared in Brainstorm magazine. The full version can be accessed here.


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