Dukapay Ltd which trades as Tanda, a Kenyan micro-retail startup has raised undisclosed seed funding from HAVAIC.
Developed by Nairobi based founders Geoffrey Mulei and Alex Wilson, Tanda aims to provide access to digital financial services and affordable agency banking for the underbanked population in Kenya and the rest of East Africa. With 3,500 ATM’s across Kenya for a population of 50 million, lack of access and expensive alternatives are the norms faced by a vast portion of the population that are incredibly sensitive to price.
Having been involved in distribution networks, digital financial services and duka (micro-retailer) networks, Geoff and Alex have an excellent understanding of what the market requires, and how to scale the business. They have been joined by an ex-Safaricom, M-Pesa and Kopo Kopo distribution senior manager to grow the reach of the network. Off the back of an angel-funded pilot, Tanda successfully brought much needed financial services to over 350,000 Kenyan’s through 7,000 micro-retailers.
The Tanda platform allows for a micro-retailer to offer a wide range of digital services such as airtime, prepaid electricity, bill payments and other services to their customers. This is all done on existing smartphones of the micro-retailer. This has reduced cost of acquisition of new agents and reduced competition for counter space with normal terminal POS-type devices. Due to Tanda’s aggregated backend, the cost savings are shared by the micro-retailer and Tanda, thus empowering retailers with additional revenue streams and diversifying their product range at no cost.
A second problem that Tanda is tackling is the shortage of ATM services and Bank Branches in Kenya. Despite M-Pesa’s pervasiveness and success in Kenya, it is still very expensive and/or difficult to access digital financial services for the majority of the population. With many different banks plus over 3,000 community banks (SACCO’s) which Kenyans rely on for traditional current and savings accounts, access to these accounts is still restricted to the limited ATM’s and Bank Branches.
Tanda has made available cash in and cash out services at the micro retailers signed up as Tanda agents. This integration with one of Kenyans’ largest banks, a SACCO aggregator and Africa’s largest switching service provider, increases Kenyans’ access to cash services through this virtual ATM network. This will allow Kenyan’s to save money and access their savings at a fraction of the cost that is currently available to them. Tanda’s hope is that this will stimulate growth at a national level by helping to move from a cash-based to digital economy.
“We’re excited about the opportunity to help millions of underbanked Africans to gain access to essential financial services from their favourite duka, but know that it’s a long and hard road ahead. We are working systematically to increase our distribution while growing our bouquet of services. The investment and support from HAVAIC has come at a good time and is proving very valuable with key relationships.” said Geoffrey Mulei.
HAVAÍC’s Rob Heath also added: “Geoff, Alex and the rest of the senior management really understand the market they are attacking. They are not sitting in some ivory tower making broad assumptions. They took me around the streets of Kayole, Nairobi and showed me Tanda in action – working on a variety of smartphones. Like HAVAIC’s other investments in the region, Tanda is positively affecting many thousands of peoples’ lives by supporting small businesses, and it has offered an excellent investment opportunity. As an investor and board member, this is the type of business that makes me get up in the morning.”