Hildah Moraa is the founder and CEO of Pezesha, a fintech company that provides a platform where traditional and traditional institutions can offer financial services to Micro Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
So far, the company has embedded 30 partners, registered over 200,000 SMEs, and enabled the disbursement of 100,000 loans.
“The opportunity and impact in solving working capital problems for SMEs is huge. [We are] solving the root cause, which is information asymmetry issues, to ensure quality and responsible borrowing. Pezesha solves this through our robust API-driven credit scoring technology,” Moraa told TechCrunch.
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According to CrunchBase, the fintech has raised $12.7 million (Ksh1.5 billion) since it was founded in 2017.
Hilda, an award-winning innovator and author, boasts over 10 years of experience in Fintech, Regulation, developing innovations, entrepreneurship and working with multinationals such as Coca-Cola to develop mobility innovations for Africa.
She is also a member of the Board of Directors at Konza City- The Silicon Savannah.
Hilda holds a Business Information Technology Degree from Strathmore University. In 2015 she was also featured as one of the top 40 under 40 women and Quartz Africa as top 30 innovators in Africa in 2018.
She was also a keynote speaker at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2015. And in 2019, she was among the few selected to be part of the Obama Leaders Program. Hilda is also celebrated across Africa as one of the 50, Africa’s most promising innovators by Global Shakers because of the impactful work she leads at Pezesha.
Hildah previously founded WezaTele, a Fintech startup in Kenya that was acquired in 2015. She was just another broke student when she came up with the idea that led to the founding of the company.
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While addressing the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi in 2015, Hildah, then, 26, revealed to the world and to her parents who were watching, that she was forced to drop out of her Masters studies due to the time and energy she had dedicated to the business idea.
She informed her parents and the world that after dropping out, she developed the business idea which she later sold for Ksh100 million later that year.
“I know my parents are watching me. This is the first time I am telling them that I dropped out of my Master’s class,” she told the crowd at GES2015.
Hildah noted that she gave up the dream of a better job in pursuit of her business idea.
“I had the opportunity to go to Oxford University and work for Google but I gave it up,” she said.
“It was not going to be successful if we did not have time to believe,” she added, referencing to her start-up idea.
In May 2015, AFB acquired Hildah’s start-up WezaTele in a deal whose value in stock and cash was estimated to be about Ksh100 million. AFB is a financial services company that specializes in providing credit products to consumers in Africa.
Following the conclusion of the deal, AFB appointed Hildah as the country head at AFB.
Addressing the attendees at GES2015, Hildah revealed that throughout the journey, she and her partners almost gave up.
“One time we thought of ourselves of being the next Google, the other time we felt so hopeless,” Hildah recounted.
Interestingly, WezaTele was not Moraa’s first idea. She had founded another company called MyOrder but the investment was unfruitful.
“MyOrder never even took off. We didn’t do enough research yet we put every effort in it,” she recalled.
The idea of WezaTele was conceived out of a school project Hildah was working on as she pursued a degree in Business Information Technology at Strathmore University
“The idea for the project came to me when I was working as a data analyst at a large global beverage and distribution company. I saw the challenges they faced within their distribution systems. so I conducted market research and documented those challenges then decided to develop an ordering solution prototype as my final year project,” she told IBM Global Entrepreneur.
The project won the top prize at the 2011 Mobile BootCamp – a leading event for IT developers and tech enthusiasts. After graduation, she immediately embarked on turning the project into a business and that is when she teamed up with Sam Kitonyi who was working at Nailab, a local business incubator, and Newton Kitonga, who was at the time pursuing a Masters program at Strathmore University.
The trio founded WezaTele in 2013. The start-up won the IBM global smart camp competition at the Tech4Africa conference.
Hildah boasts an interesting entrepreneurial story which she captured in her book, “In a Kenyan Start Up Journey.”
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