The global fintech sector has given opportunities to innovators from all around the world to generate new ideas and inventions based on circumstance. Africa is one of the world’s current fintech hotspots, especially countries such as Nigeria and Kenya, where innovations come from needs that wouldn’t be possible anywhere else. For example, the M-pesa money transfer system developed in Nigeria has made it possible for monetary transactions to take place without internet access, which is a major issue in the country. All residents need is a smartphone, which is exceedingly more common than just internet access. Now, fintech startup Appzone, which is a software provider, is one of the country’s most exciting new projects. Their main service is offering assistance with legacy costs and operational efficiency that many traditional banks seem to struggle with. On Monday, Appzone announced that they have closed an €8 million Series A investment that will primarily go towards global expansion as well as developing new proprietary technology. One of the ways that Appzone is so unique is that African fintechs typically have to rely on foreign technology in order to solve their problems, but they have found a way to solve these issues without the aid of foreign help.
Appzone was founded back in 2008 by Emeka Emetarom, Obi Emetarom and Wale Onawunmiin. To differentiate itself from other fintechs, Appzone functions as an enabler within banking and payments. Appzone has had a pretty successful, unique, and aggressive strategy to the fintech market that seems to have been working very well for them. Just three years after they were founded back in 2011, according to TechCrunch, “the company launched its first core banking product targeting microfinance institutions. The following year, Appzone launched its first product (branchless banking) for commercial banks.” Both of these decisions made Appzone immediately stand out from other Nigerian fintechs and helped place them on the map for global investors to take interest. Only a few years later, Appzone launched a mobile banking service which aided in Nigeria’s efforts, along with M-pesa, in modernizing the country for the mobile banking and fintech era. According to CEO Obi Emetarom, “”We started Appzone with the intention to build out innovative local solutions for banking and payments on the continent. The focus was to leverage our ability as an enabler to create proprietary technology for both segments.” The €8 million should only help propel Appzone’s international reach to not only aid Nigeria in modernizing, but possibly the entire African continent.