Not like many college college students on the point of graduate this 12 months, Serge Kiema isn’t fretting about discovering gainful employment as soon as his days on campus are over.
The College of Ottawa physics pupil is the co-founder and CEO of Dunia Cost, a fast-growing fintech startup that’s already gained main funding and is now a part of a digital app-building boot camp for blockchain corporations from all over the world.
Co-hosted by open-source funds community Celo and digital occasions firm Upright, the web program affords perks that embody mentorship from the likes of PayPal and Winklevoss Capital and as much as $10,000 in prize cash for the winners.
Dunia Cost, a member of uOttawa’s Startup Storage pre-accelerator program, is one in all solely two Canadian startups among the many 18 individuals. However Kiema, who grew up within the west African nation of Burkina Faso, is not any stranger to charming juries at startup competitions. Two years in the past, Dunia Cost took residence $100,000 after successful an occasion sponsored by the Burkina Faso authorities.
The corporate – which makes a cellular app that permits folks to ship and obtain wire transfers and pay payments by way of blockchain transactions – at present has about 3,700 customers in Kiema’s native nation and is rising its platform on the charge of 10-15 per cent a month. Kiema, who’s graduating from uOttawa this fall, says the startup plans to begin providing the service in 14 different African nations later this summer time.
The budding entrepreneur – who first got here to Canada to check mechanical engineering at Quebec’s Laval College and initially dreamed of turning into a rocket scientist – mentioned he hatched the concept for Dunia Funds three years in the past after a wire switch from Africa to a buddy in Houston “completely disappeared” en path to the US.
“We started building something to solve this problem,” mentioned Kiema, who labored along with his buddy and enterprise associate, Serge Ouedraogo, to create the app.
Kiema says blockchain permits for extra environment friendly and safe cash transfers than conventional programs. Dunia Funds takes a minimize of all transactions, however Kiema says customers pay decrease charges by his app than by most different strategies of transferring funds.
Kathleen Kemp, the supervisor of the College of Ottawa’s Entrepreneurship Hub, says Dunia Cost is addressing a significant ache level for purchasers.
“The Dunia Pay team really understands the problem they are trying to solve, as it’s something they have experienced themselves,” she mentioned in an e-mail. “They have been able to build a solution that solves a really critical problem and involve the right people to help them establish themselves in their market, both in Canada and in Africa.”
Now at 12 workers, together with 4 in Ottawa and one other eight in Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast, Dunia Funds has its sights set on increasing to much more markets within the close to future. Kiema, in the meantime, has nothing however reward for his adopted land, pointing to its “open-minded” residents and wealth of technical experience.
“It’s a good country to do business in and learn new things,” he mentioned.