Edwin is one of our 180+ Arcadia placements completed across Sub-Saharan Africa, and a demonstration of how our placements have continued to achieve high impact results.
With a background in finance and only 6 months at Open Capital (OCA), I was eager to go on my first placement at PesaKit, a fintech startup, empowering Africa’s mobile money agents – the main channel for the underserved and underbanked communities to access mobile financial services. The PesaKit app enables last mile agents to access interoperable digital finance and commerce services such as float loans, sale of airtime, payment of utilities, access to insurance, and asset lending. Additionally, agents receive insights on their transaction history to enhance their financial literacy and support making data-driven decisions to better manage their businesses.
Across Africa, mobile money agents face challenges accessing; (i) timely float loans to facilitate customer transactions, (ii) essential financial services such as insurance for their families and businesses, and (iii) affordable digital commerce – limiting their income and services offered to the communities. M-PESA alone has over 918,000 agents supporting over 49 million customers across 7 countries. These market needs drove Andrew Mutua, PesaKit CEO, with over 10 years of experience in design technology, to launch the company in 2019. PesaKit started operations in Kenya and has recently expanded its services to Uganda, Tanzania, and Ghana.
To support the growth in staff, product portfolio, and customer base, the company needed to streamline its operations, improve its financial reporting and management, and align its business to the different regulatory landscapes. In the initial 3 months, I researched suitable licenses under the current business model and created operational tools such as leave, expenses, and interview templates to optimize staff planning and support organizational growth. The placement was extended for 3 more months in which I developed product financial projections, budgeting templates, and firm-wide 5-year financial models and dashboards to track and articulate the company’s financial performance. Furthermore, working closely with the CEO, I took the lead in setting up the finance department and deploying accounting systems to improve liquidity management and financial reporting.
During the placement period, the company doubled its user base and revenue, achieved a 50% growth in its staff, streamlined its staff planning, prepared its first financial statements, and obtained more funding. Additionally, the company is in advanced discussions with 4 regulatory agencies across the region to obtain licenses for its products. The tools and templates I developed will continue supporting PesaKit to be more operationally efficient and streamline its financial reporting and management.
It was a great experience working with a collaborative and cheerful team, and I believe OCA’s contribution will go a long way in enabling PesaKit to achieve its vision of becoming a super-platform providing inclusive, interoperable, last-mile, digital commerce and financial services.