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[Interview] Youverify’s Dimitri Kanellopolus on the firm’s expansion to Kenya and the state of regtech in Africa


The last couple of years have seen a number of African countries start to adopt regulation technology – what has now become to be known as RegTech. The technology consists of using information technologies to better oversee and regulate sectors of the economy and help companies to completely meet compliance and regulatory requirements. 

The technology might be relatively young but it’s proving to be a need. African governments have come to realise that having the best regulatory framework in place does not necessarily guarantee the sustainable development of an inclusive and healthy telecom and financial ecosystem. It must also be supported by appropriate information technologies.

One of the biggest players in this space is Youverify, which entered the Kenyan market just the other day. 

‘’The RegTech space in Africa is growing but in very many different directions that are chosen by the company themselves.’’ Dimitri Kanellopolus, Chief Executive (EEMEEA, APAC), Youverify told TechTrends Media in an interview. 

Youverify first launched in Nigeria in 2018, and when it went live, it only provided an API for address and identity verification to several financial institutions. Over the years, the company has added more Know Your Customer (KYC), Know Your Business (KYB), Know Your Transaction (KYT), Know Your Employee (KYE), Adverse Media Screening and Risk Intelligence Solution solutions to its offering.  

‘’We (Youverify) have decided on a very unique way of executing to the market.  We believe it’s sustainable and future-proof and that we are also on the right path to becoming the best player in the space in terms of verification,‘’ Dimitri added. 

Dimitri notes that despite the RegTech space having grown, it hasn’t settled yet. ‘’I think as the evolution of the regulatory framework expands, RegTech follows significant changes,’’ he says. 

Youverify has had quite an interesting year in 2023. The company has earned a spot in the  RegTech100 list 2023 from over 1,300 contenders globally.  The RegTech100 developed by Fintech Global is an annual list of 100 of the world’s most innovative RegTech companies. A number of factors are considered before being selected for the list. They include industry significance of the problem being solved, growth, in terms of capital raised, revenue, customer traction and innovation of technology solutions offered.

Others include potential cost savings, efficiency improvement, impact on the value chain and/or revenue enhancements generated for clients.

‘’Being listed in RegTech100 means a tremendous achievement of achieving certain thresholds, certain KPIs to be able to be on that list and we hope to bring many more awards,’’ Dimitri said. 

Expanding to other markets has always been one of Youverify’s top priorities, especially after extending its seed funding to $2.5M. In Kenya, the company hopes to work with local banks, fintechs, logistics firms and telcos among others to offer regulatory compliance solutions. Dimitri said Kenya is a very important market for YouVerify.

‘’Our execution into a market of interest speaks of data. The choice that we make to proceed into a market is when our customers choose us. We follow our customer’s principle for expansion,’’ Dimitri said.

‘’Kenya, will for the first time see a regtech company that will be able to provide in real-time every single data point of KYC and KYB to the public,  businesses and on board the merchants or employees in real-time with back-end verification and  that importance was missing from Kenya.’’

Dimitri adds that Kenya has a number of companies that are growing very first in the digital asset finance space including startups. 

The company is also looking to expand to other African countries including Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia including the Middle East and in Europe. 

‘’We want to connect every business in Africa in the simplest manner, save them time, reduce fines and risk of doing business,’’ Dimitry concludes. 

You can listen to the full interview on our TechTrends Podcast below:

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Nixon Kanali

Tech journalist based in Nairobi. I track and report on tech and African startups. Founder and Editor of TechTrends Media. Nixon is also the East African tech editor for Africa Business Communities. Send tips to nkanali@techtrendske.co.ke.

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