Name: Josephat Njui
Name of Company: Shield Finance
Shield Finance is a Kenyan Payday lending tech startup.
Shield finance allows employees to access loans directly into their mobile phones and mobile money accounts.
The startup recently booked its place in the DEMO Africa competition that was held in Lagos, Nigeria in September 2015. Shield Finance successfully beat five other teams at the pre-pitch event held in Nairobi, Kenya.
There is a buzz that is surrounding fintech in Africa because Africa has both the need and the desire for better financial technology solutions.
Solving Africa’s cash problem is an opportunity to help over a billion people leapfrog to the next wave of growth.
During this exclusive interview we catch up with Josephat Njui to discuss all things fintech in Africa.
Fintech in Africa: Innovative Solutions for Finance
Joseph: How would you introduce Shield Finance, the idea and concept as if I knew nothing about the company and its market?
NJUI: Shield Finance is a company providing fintech in Africa. We use trademarked fintech technology while leveraging on mobile money to deliver affordable salary advances to underbanked employees directly to their mobile devices.
Joseph: How does it feel to venture in to high-risk areas that big banks snub?
NJUI: We believe that the risk involved is exaggerated. The issue is that the amounts required by our target customers are too small and not profitable enough for big banks to process. This means that based on banks origination processes, it will be very expensive to process and advance these amounts. This is why there are great opportunities for fintech in Africa
Joseph: How long does it take to get approval for a loan from Shield finance?
NJUI: the process is very quick. From application to disbursal it is a 5-minute affair.
Joseph: What have been some of the challenges faced so far that have inspired you even more?
NJUI: More and more companies are launching fintech startups in Africa. This makes me feel that we are barking up the right tree. It is a market share acquisition challenge that we are happy to take on.
Joseph: Apart from customers using mobile money to receive their loans, how has mobile money contributed to Africa and what are your predictions on where Africans will take it?
NJUI: Different services are all coming together on mobile, from normal services like web browsing to bill settlement. There will be even greater opportunities for product development that is targeted towards mobile user behaviours.
Joseph: As a Startup financing other startups, do you feel a huge sense of responsibility?
NJUI: Well, we basically bridge a gap I.e. A company might be willing to extend salary advances to its employees but due to say cash flow issues or tedious processes they don’t. We fill that gap.
Joseph: With such an amazing record so far, how soon do you intend to venture into other African countries and tackle other big markets such as Nigeria?
NJUI: We are building a scalable and easily replicable business model. On how and when we expand, will depend on a number of factors. But we plan to expand soon.
Joseph: Competing with banks, microfinances and other giant financial institutions, how does that encourage you to make more time to grow your business?
NJUI: Competition is healthy, the fact that we seem to be competing with entities mentioned above is encouragement enough. We intend to innovate and evolve.
Joseph: Your team has played a remarkable role in your success story, how would you advise other startup founders to select who they work with?
NJUI: Share a common vision. Be real.
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