Greater than 600 startups from throughout the continent utilized for this 12 months’s Ecobank Fintech Problem, with the 10 finalists together with well-known and fast-growing startups reminiscent of South African corporations uKheshe and Development Issue.
However whereas these two companies finally got here second and third when the winners of this 12 months’s problem have been introduced this week, the winner of the US$10,000 first prize was a comparatively unknown Ghanaian fintech that hasn’t even launched but.
And whereas earlier winners of the problem, Tanzania’s Nala and Nigeria’s IroFit, have been already working and constructing robust consumer bases, this 12 months’s winner, Nokwary, doesn’t have any clients utilizing its flagship options simply but. So what’s so thrilling about this firm?
Co-founder and chief government officer (CEO) Dennis Asamoah Owusu instructed Disrupt Africa that Nokwary was based to offer synthetic intelligence (AI) and AI-enabled options in Ghana and Africa at massive.
“Right now, we are focused on using AI to broaden access to digital financial services. To this end, we have developed what we call a WhatsApp PoS and banking solution. Our WhatsApp PoS solution allows your everyday merchant to collect electronic payments easily and without needing to purchase a PoS device or install another app,” he stated.
“Our WhatsApp banking solution allows users to perform bank transactions over WhatsApp. True to our mission of broadening access to digital financial services, our system can interact in native languages, and not just English. We are yet to launch both products because we decided early on that we needed a banking partner to launch.”
Nokwary now expects to launch within the subsequent couple of months with Ecobank as this banking accomplice, however the firm has been busy since opening its doorways in February 2019.
“Apart from the platform that we will launch soon, we have been providing WhatsApp bot development services for companies in Ghana. Companies from finance to insurance to food services are seeing the importance of using WhatsApp as a digital platform, and so we develop the needed bots for these companies,” Owusu stated.
“What is unique to the bots we develop, owing to our in-house expertise in AI, is that they are intelligent and conversational. While others just try to port existing USSD apps to WhatsApp, we take advantage of WhatsApp as a multimedia platform and advances in AI to provide a better customer experience. We enable interaction in natural language, allow customers to upload images and extract information from them using computer vision techniques, enable use of voice notes for interaction among others.”
Owusu stated not sufficient corporations are critically leveraging AI to enhance buyer expertise, and Nokwary is aiming to fill that hole.
“Our main competition is alternative forms to the products we offer. For instance, instead of using our WhatsApp PoS or banking, a merchant or customer may use a PoS device, mobile USSD or custom mobile app. Similarly, our business clients may choose to develop a mobile USSD or custom mobile app instead of our AI-powered WhatsApp bots. We believe our offer is superior though, and businesses and customers alike are waking to that realisation,” he stated.
Up to now, Nokwary has been funded by household and mates, however Owusu stated the startup’s induction into the Ecobank Fellowship is a serious landmark that can enable it to launch merchandise focusing on shoppers and retailers that it expects will develop in a short time. Ghana is the corporate’s residence base, however geographic enlargement is an early aim.
“We hope to expand to other developing countries’ markets in Africa and Asia. In this regard, our partnership with Ecobank is a godsend,” Owusu stated.