Innovation season at Google as applications open for Launchpad programme, Google News Initiative

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A Kenyan digital banking start-up that focuses on cooperatives grew its user base from 200 to 20,000 in 3-months, after participating in the Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa programme, along with 11 other start-ups across Africa; three of which came from Nigeria. It was not an isolated success story when the third class of the programme graduated last week, and with applications now open, more start-ups can hope to become success stories in a near future.

The Launchpad programme has over the years, assisted start-ups to scale and become competitive to deliver value across the African continent. During the graduation event in Lagos, BusinessDay got to interact with some of the recent success stories, including Kwara, a digital banking platform from Kenya that has seen its user base grow by a 100-fold.

Cynthia Wandia, CEO of Kwara in an interview, said the platform had 200 members on its platform before joining the launchpad programme, and 3 months later, has grown its user base to 20,000. Furthermore, from less than 1,000 loans disbursed in over a year of being in operation, it now currently has 11,000 loans on its platform.

“Some of the experiences from LaunchPad helped us to focus on one product,” said Wandia, CEO of Kwara in an interview. “We had multiple products for which we had ideas, but one key learning was to focus on just one.” Over the three month period, the start-up was able to validate this by bringing onboard a large customer (a cooperative in Kenya), and this, Wandia said was “definitely as a result of putting their attention on the main product,” courtesy of knowledge from the programme.

Kwara provides cooperatives with an affordable platform that can be used to run their daily operations; keep records of members, take deposits, … Read More...