Cameroonian fintech startup IWOMI Technologies is best known for its Softeller product, but is in the process of diversifying its offering.
Formed in 2017, IWOMI launched Softeller in August of last year, allowing users to make instant and secure remittances from abroad directly into mobile money accounts in Africa. It also allows for airtime top-up and bill payment, and offers APIs to e-commerce sites and other third-party payment systems.
It has been a notable success. Softeller already has more than 5,000 users, who have made more than 10,000 transactions through the platform in less than a year. Though it is going up against more established competitors such as Western Union, MoneyGram and WorldRemit, chief executive officer (CEO) Fomba Collins feels it has a key edge in its home market.
“We have an advantage over them in Cameroon in that we do instant remittance into mobile wallets, which they do not do,” he told Disrupt Africa.
IWOMI is identified with Softeller to the point that many believe the latter is actually the name of the business, but Collins says the company is more than just one product. Indeed, it is working on diversifying its offering, as a recently-released Disrupt Africa report found many African fintechs are in the process of doing.
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Earlier this year, IWOMI launched Mosa, a sales app that allows businesses of all sectors and sizes to securely collect a variety of different payment types, and Bkwiki, which gives banks a platform from which to showcase their products and services to the public. These apps have already seen some downloads, while IWOMI also plan to launch Loan360, an optimised and automatic loan processing system, in the near future.
“For Mosa and Bkwiki, we just put them live in March and have not really started communication. Mosa is at over 240 downloads and Bkwiki about 140. We hope with funds and assistance, we could run marketing and communication campaigns to start making money,” Collins said.
The startup has been self-funded to date, but hopes that will change soon as it has expansion in mind. It wants to expand across the other five countries of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) over the course of this year, and then across the wider West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) in 2020.
“It has not been easy, especially in a region with very tough and inelastic financial regulations, and where people are yet to trust instant digital payments. We need more money to compensate operations locally,” said Collins.