Visa, a global leader in digital payments, is opening the doors of opportunity for another wave of African fintech startups with the launch of the second cohort of its Africa Fintech Accelerator Program. This initiative, which kicked off in June 2023, aims to nurture and empower promising early-stage ventures that are shaping the future of digital payments on the continent.
- Second cohort applications open until February 29th following the inaugural 12-week program.
- The 23 participants from the first cohort will pitch to investors in Nairobi on February 13th during a Demo Day organized by Visa.
The inaugural cohort of the program saw participation from over 1,000 startups across 18 African countries. These innovative ventures tackled diverse challenges within the fintech landscape, ranging from merchant payment solutions and lending infrastructure to Banking-as-a-Service and B2B marketplaces. Notably, 48% of the participants had a woman founder or a woman in their leadership team, reflecting Visa’s commitment to fostering gender inclusivity in the tech ecosystem.
For the second cohort, Visa is seeking applications from seed to Series A startups operating in Africa that fall under three key focus areas:
- Unlocking money movement: This category encompasses solutions that digitize various payment types, including P2P, B2C, B2B, and G2C transactions. This could involve innovations in cross-border remittances, mobile money flows, and open banking platforms.
- Embedded finance: Startups developing advanced intelligence to enhance payment and financial experiences within B2C and B2B commerce models are encouraged to apply. This includes solutions for installments, flexible financing, consumer loyalty programs, and Fintech-as-a-service offerings.
- Empowering merchants and SMEs: Visa seeks ventures that accelerate the growth of merchants and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through digital payment solutions. This could involve innovations in point-of-sale systems, inventory management, and access to financial services for underserved businesses.
Fast-Tracking Growth and Impact
Selected startups will gain access to a wealth of resources and support through the program, including:
- Mentorship and guidance: Renowned industry experts and Visa executives will provide invaluable mentorship and guidance to help startups refine their business models and navigate the challenges of the African fintech landscape.
- Networking opportunities: The program fosters connections and collaboration between startups, investors, and key players in the African ecosystem, opening doors to potential partnerships and funding opportunities.
- Visibility and recognition: Participating startups will have the chance to showcase their solutions at exclusive events and demo days, gaining valuable exposure and attracting potential investors and customers.
Leila Serhan, Senior Vice President and group Country Manager for North Africa, Levant, and Pakistan (NALP) at Visa, emphasized the program’s commitment to driving innovation and financial inclusion across Africa:
“Following the success of the inaugural accelerator, Visa is inviting a second round of disruptive startups to apply to the program, in an ongoing effort to support Africa’s growing fintech ecosystem. We believe that by nurturing and empowering these innovative ventures, we can contribute to building a more inclusive and prosperous digital future for the continent.”
Applications for the second cohort of the Visa Africa Fintech Accelerator Program are open until February 29, 2024. Interested startups can apply online at https://usa.visa.com/about-visa/newsroom/press-releases.releaseId.19726.html.
Visa’s investment in Africa’s fintech future extends beyond the accelerator program. The company has pledged $1 billion to support the development of the digital payments ecosystem in Africa by 2027. This commitment reflects Visa’s recognition of the immense potential that Africa holds for fintech innovation and its dedication to playing a key role in unlocking this potential.
By nurturing and empowering African fintech startups, Visa is not only helping to build a more prosperous future for the continent but also shaping the global landscape of digital payments.