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Here are the five startups pitching at the 2023 Visa Everywhere Initiative Kenya edition


Payments firm Visa has unveiled the five finalists shortlisted for the final round of the 2023 Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI).

The initiative opened applications for its Kenyan edition back in April. In partnership with  Loop, a smart Kenyan money management platform the partners were seeking innovative and ambitious entrepreneurs who are uplifting communities by solving payment and commerce challenges faced by businesses of all sizes and sectors. 

Important to note that the programme was launched in 2015 and since then it has helped over 12,000 startups from across 100 countries to collectively raise more than $16 Billion in funding. Last year, VEI awarded more than $ 530,000 in prize money throughout the competition, which saw over 4,000 startups participate from five regions.  

This year, VEI Kenyan edition will see finalists startups walk away with a total of $40,000 USD in prize money distributed among the different categories. This includes $20,000 for the overall winner and $10,000 USD for the audience favourite. There is also a newly introduced $10,000 Impact prize, which which will be awarded to the organisation whose solution has a positive social impact on the communities it operates in. 

Five startups have now made it to the finals and are expected to pitch their ideas before an audience on Thursday, 6th April. Interestingly, we have actually covered some of them previously here at TechTrends Media.  

The startups were selected from a pool of around 200 who applied to get a share of the Visa funding and scale their operations. 

Let’s look at each of the five finalists:

Ndovu: This is a wealth-tech that officially entered the Kenyan market in February last year.  Founded by Radhika Bhachu, Ro Nyangeri, and Gianpaolo De Biase, Ndovu is an investment platform that provides easy access to financial markets. Available on both the Google Play and Apple App stores, Ndovu was founded upon the realization that current investment options in Kenya lock out the vast majority due to complexities in market access and high management fees.

Africa Blockchain Center: If you’re into blockchain you have probably heard about them already. Founded by Jeff Mkungusi in September 2021, the company mainly focuses on 4 key areas: Capacity Building, Product Development, Incubation, Research and development. It describes itself as a Kenyan Web 3.0 company with a mission to propel Africa into the adoption of 4IR (fourth industrial revolution) through blockchain technology. In December last year, Africa Blockchain Center announced the graduation of its first cohort of 105 blockchain developers under its Blockchain Programming training course. 

Leja (Fomerly asilimia): Leja is a Kenyan fintech founded in 2017. The startup empowers small businesses through an affordable, easy-to-use and tailored digital payments platform. It says it’s building the digital infrastructure to connect African MSMEs to the formal financial economy. Leja is on a mission to build the digital financial infrastructure of Africa’s highly fragmented and paper-based informal economy and address the $360 billion credit gap that is impacting the continent’s 150 million MSMEs.

Ai-fluence: If you’re a Kenyan influencer or do work similar to what we do here at TechTrends Media, Ai-fluence should be a familiar name. Ai-fluence is Africa’s first AI-driven Influencer Marketing Platform that offers an end-to-end solution to augment and scale marketing strategies. Ai-fluence was founded by Nelson Aseka, George Issaias, Lamusia Anzaya and Ankit Jindal in 2019.

Paylend: This is the last startup in the list and is among the most popular fintechs in Kenya focused on providing access to finance and digitizing MSMEs. Founded in September 2019, Paylend had digitized over 10,000 SMEs as of December 2021 and growing with its users enjoying an array of services including access to credit for products and services and crowdfunding tools. The fintech says its mission is to support MSMEs across Africa to solve the problem of access to continuous capital while bridging the consumer data gap by connecting consumers to products and services. The startup was founded in 2019 by Bendon Murgor and Eliutherius Juma. 

This year’s VEI in Kenya will see an in-person competition on Thursday, July 6 as we mentioned which you can actually stream live on YouTube here. The winner will progress to the Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEMEA) finals, which will be live-streamed on July 27 on TechCrunch. The winner of the CEMEA regional final will then proceed to the global finale, to be held on September 19 at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco.

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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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