Fintech startup Tanda
has broken through Kenya’s most challenging industry and is quickly staking a claim on M-Pesa’s market share.
Tanda makes a move: Kenya’s reputation as a global hub of financial innovation services on the continent has been driven by big names like Safaricom’s M-Pesa, which retains almost 99% market share, and has dominated Kenya’s mobile money circuit for 15 years.
However, new startups are making a play for a piece of economic gold. While most startups offer services to easily acquired demographics like millennials with smartphones – the others focus on a more complex demographic to capture – the unbanked.
CEO Geoffrey Mulei
took the road less travelled with Tanda, targeting Dukas (aka mom and pop stores or neighbourhood shops) and customers whose primary engagement with financial technology is through USSD codes.
Mulei spent a lot of time at his mother’s Duka, observing customer behaviour and pain points. His understanding of the complexities involved in running a duka motivated him to build Tanda.
Why Tanda matters:
Tanda services three customers -
- Traders – offering digital products to customers and accepting digital payments.
- Consumers – offering quick and easy access to secured payments via a wallet.
- Developers – providing opportunities for developers to embed Tanda’s API and earn a commission when users purchase a service.
The four-year-old company created the first interoperable agent network in Kenya so that Dukas can process payments, goods or financial services like loans – all through a unified platform.
By the numbers:
Tanda provides access to over 40 digital financial services – with over 24,000 agents making it the fourth largest agent network in Kenya. In its 4-year history, the company has processed millions of transactions, servicing
over 300,000 thousand customers.
Tanda’s keeping an African expansion on its radar, with ambitions to soon serve 100,000 agents and merchants.
New product experimentation: A new feature launching this quarter, known as TandaPay, will allow consumers to send and receive money across banks, both locally and internationally. This feature will enable the much-coveted domestic and international remittance while offering savings, investment, and credit services.
Eyes on the East: Tanda’s establishing a growing presence in Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda in partnership with a yet to be revealed key player in Nigeria’s fintech space, according to Mulei.
Final thoughts – to infinity and beyond: With successful agent networks and consumer-facing innovation, it’s still Day One for this emerging startup and its ambitions in one of Kenya’s most competitive industries, outside politics.
I’m not a betting woman, but I’ve got a lot of confidence in Tanda’s success. If for anything, they looked a formidable industry in the eye and threw their heart in the ring.