What was supposed to be a routine science congress competition in high school has propelled Collins Kathuli to heights he probably never dreamt off. Kyanda Africa, a fintech startup, offers digital financial services for business to customer (B2C) and business to business (B2B). With only a start-up capital of Sh15,000, the company’s customers base has now hit 5 million transactions, according to the Standard.
Here is the entrepreneurial journey of the 21 year old as told by WoK.
Making Of An Innovator
Collins Kathuli was interested in technology from a young age. He harboured dreams of becoming a news anchor and would use his mother’s phone to record himself reading news. He edited the videos and in the process of learnt how to edit. Collins next focus was on how he would upload his content. This led him to build his first website from where he could upload his videos and sparked a new interest in the Information Technology (IT) field.
While in Lukenya high school he pursued computer studies which nurtured his talent in programming. It enabled him to come up with innovative ideas that left schoolmates and teachers in awe. During the science congress competition, he came up with a system that enabled customers using Safaricom, Telkom and Airtel to buy airtime digitally, reducing the stress of having to buy from a shop every time.
Establishing Kyanda Africa
After completing his secondary studies in 2019, he upgraded the idea to what has brought him alot of attention-Kyanda Africa.
“Ideally, I started Kyanda in my last year in high school, as part of my computer projects. The app was meant to process only airtime purchases. Once I was done with high school in November 2019, it took me only three months to fully develop a working mobile app. With Ksh 15,000 pocket money I had saved, I managed to fully deploy Kyanda to the market and rolled out in February 2022,” the 21 year old told Business Daily.
Kyanda Africa offers various services including individual mobile platform, mobile agency networks and application programming interface (API) gateway. Under the individual mobile platform is an app that is available on Google Play store and offers essential financial services such as bills payments (electricity, airtime, water), peer to peer (P2P) money transfer, C2B, B2B and B2C payments.
The 21 year old who is currently pursuing a degree in Computer Software engineering at KCA University. Users can cash in/ cash out at nay of their agents spread across the country. Agents are able to collect payments across all mobile networks through card transactions and disburse them to their employees, suppliers etc.
“With API gateway, businesses are able to integrate into their systems and access payment collection, utility vending and disbursement to/from mobile wallets and banks. For the first time, Kyanda offers an open API that allows real time disbursement of funds to all 42 banks in Kenya,” he added.
In November 2021, Kathuli made his maiden visit to South Africa through the Kenya South Africa Chamber of Commerce which led to his firm rolling out services in the country.
“South Africa is a card-based country, it was more of an exhibition and they saw my payment solutions as something that can perfectly work there. We did our research and launched in South Africa this year,” he told the Standard.
The company’s customer base in both Kenya and South Africa has since crossed the 5 million mark for the number of transactions. He has won several awards and honors including 1st runners up Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) Kenya in 2021, Startupbootcamp Afritech BootCamp in Dakar, Senegal in 2021 and Best Fintech in Kenya issued in 2022 in the Global Economic Awards held in Dubai.
He collins Kathuli founded the Kyanda Africa with Emmanuel Manani.