DjamoFrancophone is the first startup from Ivory Coast to receive support from Eye Combinator, a financial super app for consumers in Africa.
While there has been a major confusion of financial services emerging in recent years in Africa, Djamo’s mission is to try to plug a specific and very small gap in Francophone Africa.
In the region, less than 25% of adults have bank accounts as the focus of banks remains in the top 10–20% of the wealthiest customers. The rest, Joe A. Large share of the market About 120 million people, are not considered profitable. But as banks became sluggish, mobile telescopes filled the mobile money gap in the region. In the last 10 years, their pockets have reached more than 60% of the population – evidence of how many French-speaking natives starved for financial services. Today, it allows mobile money infrastructure and access startups to democratize access to their existing payment infrastructure through separate applications.
Djamo is one of such companies that takes advantage of this opportunity to bring affordable and seamless banking to the region.
In 2019, Hassan Borghi, The second-time founder, returned to Ivory Coast after exiting his Nasper-company Redbus, exiting his Latin American-based startup, Busportal. He met there Regis bumba One, which was still working at MTN, is one of Africa’s largest telecoms, with several mobile money projects.
Frustrated by the unpleasant experience faced in the country and many millennials, Borghi and Bamba launched Djamo last year to challenge the status of the banking industry.
“It’s really difficult for banking services to get here, and we saw that as a big opportunity,” Djamo CEO Borghi told TechCrunch. “From day one, we wanted to design a mobile-first platform that could break into the general public and our combined experience was very important for building mass-market consumer products.
According to Borghi, millennials in the country are trying to build relationships with technology companies and are being served differently from the norm. So, Djamo is providing better front end experience and faster customer service to this audience.
Instead of offering a one-size-fits-all approach, they focused on adjusting multiple layers to suit different user needs. Whether it is the luxury of having Ivarians pay for online services such as Amazon, Alibaba, or Netflix, or offering a Visa debit card in a timely fashion, these sequential approaches allow Djamo to organize organically through word of mouth Developed from
And why not? Before coming with Xiaomo, the CEO says that people will need to go to their bank branches and stay in long queues to get their cards or load them with credit. Djamo relieves that stress and even allows customers to use their cards with zero fees across a wide range of services.
“For us, it was important to offer zero-fee cards to a certain extent with no recurring fees. After that, you go to the transaction fee. There is a premium plan of around $ 4 per month where users can transact to a higher extent, ”said Borgi.
Today, Djamo claims to have over 90,000 registered users and processes more than 50,000 transactions monthly. However, to get to this point, the company has relied on sheer resourcefulness around its operations.
Unlike Nigeria, where payment infrastructure players such as Flatterwave and Pestac are installed, Ivory Coast does not have such household names.
“We have some providers, but most are unreliable. But it doesn’t matter to the end-user, you have to make it work somehow. Bambi, the company’s CPO and CTO, said.
Losing a better option, Djamo switches from one provider to another to keep operations running. This year’s startup has faced doubts for the general public, with most African fintech startups when first launched. However, in Jomo’s case, the founders had to go to lengths to prove to banks and customers that the platform was safe to use for onboarding, KYC and transactions.
Onboarding customers also came up with their own set of problems: delivery of the Djamo VISA card. Borgi says that unlike more developed countries on the continent, it is a Herculean task to reach efficient delivery and logistics services in Ivory Coast. So, the startup created a delivery app with in-house delivery agents for this particular purpose. “The purpose for our customers is that after registering with us, they get their cards on time the next day,” said Borghi.
But even before its MVP was pursued, Jomo gained monetary recognition for its product. In June 2019, it raised $ 350,000 of pre-seed investment from private investors – arguably the biggest round at this level in the Francophone sector. Hassan pointed out that the simplicity of the solution, at least the French-speaking Africa and the track record of the founders were key to the closure of Ramo, Hassan explained.
For a long time, Francophone Africa has been underlined by international investors despite signs of the emergence of a budding startup scene. Part of this has to do with language barriers and the region’s GDP and per capita income, where English-speaking countries, excluding South Africa, contribute 47% to the average GDP of Sub-Saharan Africa, while French-speaking countries only Claim 19%.
However, with world Bank Stating that the region will have 62.5% of Africa’s fastest growing economies by 2021, its growth is accelerating in the coming years.
With so many untapped opportunities, fewer areas such as Francophone Africa are ripe for disintegration. Investors know this and although their checks are still skewed towards Anglophone Africa, million-dollars were raised from Senegal’s energy startups, Oolu and Cameroonian HealthTech startups, in 2020 HealthLane showed its keenness on the market.
Like Djamo, both startups are YC-supported and others are Francophone startups that have made it to the accelerator. But with the 2021 batch this winter, Jomo becomes the first fintech startup from the region. Following Healthlein’s acceptance in 2020, it is the first time that French-speaking representatives have been in Africa for consecutive years.
For the founders, YC’s support validated Jomo’s premise that financial service delivery in the Francophone Africa region is fundamentally changing towards applications.
“In Ivory Coast, people always say that the banking industry is very complex and there is nothing we can do about it. But we saw it as a big opportunity and a great industry. Everywhere you see customers in despair, pain, there is an opportunity for a business to come in and do it better, ”said Regis.
After attending the three-month-long event on Demo Day on 23 March, Jomao will also take part in the visa Fintech fast track programAvenue for the company to leverage the network of fintech giants to introduce new payment experiences.