10 Southern African Startups Rewarded for Innovative Fintech Solutions

World Bank Africa

Ten startups from Southern Africa were recently recognized for their efforts in addressing financial inclusion challenges in underserved communities. The World Bank-backed Fintech Challenge, held as part of the Southern Africa Innovation Bridge Portal’s ecosystem development initiatives, aimed to harness the power of innovative fintech solutions.

The objective of the initiative was to develop affordable and suitable savings and de-risking products for individuals with low to middle incomes, as well as lending solutions for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Each of the ten selected startups received a $5,000 award during a recent ceremony, which aimed to support them in becoming investment-ready.

Among the winning startups, six hailed from South Africa, namely abela, Bento Technologies, Fintr, Moya Money, Sum1 Investments, and Thumeza. Lesotho was represented by Chaperone and Prime Capital, while Botswana and Namibia had one winning startup each, namely Ipachi Capital and FundRoof, respectively. For a similar post, read our comprehensive article on the Top Fintech companies in Nigeria.

Marie Francoise Marie-Nellie, the World Bank Country Director for Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, and South Africa, highlighted the achievements of these innovative fintech companies. After participating in an eight-week investment readiness program that included mentorship and masterclasses, the ten awarded startups demonstrated their solutions to enhance financial access for the underserved population. These businesses are now ready to engage with potential investors who share their vision and are eager to support their growth.

By recognizing and supporting these Southern African startups, the Fintech Challenge and the World Bank are fostering innovation and paving the way for greater financial inclusion and economic empowerment in the region.

10 Southern African Startups Rewarded by WorldBank

The following start-ups received awards:


Country: South Africa

Abela is a mobile payments company building an ecosystem to enable people to digitally send, receive, use, and save money, creating access to the most basic of financial services. The platform is cost-effective and easy to use, providing customers with financial autonomy and security.

Founders: Tom David, Amery Winter and Hayley Knol

Bento Technologies

Country: South Africa

Bento is a holistic and affordable employee benefits platform that aims to transform an antiquated industry that has failed to support customers with personalised solutions. Bento puts the power in employees’ hands, enabling them to choose, manage, and own their benefits, giving them access to financial and wellness products while guiding them to achieve future financial security. Bento makes the employer’s task of looking after employees much easier and more cost-effective, resulting in happier, more productive employees.

Founders: Claudia Snyman and Dennis Williams


Country: South Africa

Fintr is a gamified platform that allows teens to learn about finances, apply what they learn in a safe environment and be rewarded for their decisions.

Founders: Danei Rall and Elijah Djan

Moya Money

Country: South Africa

Moya Money solves administrative issues that businesses face in working with African freelancers. Moya Money is a platform that simplifies businesses’ financial operations to manage and pay African freelancers, ensuring they get paid on time, every time. The mission is to make self-employment sustainable in Africa, where remote freelancing is expected to grow exponentially.

Founders: Thulani Masebenza and Sabica Pardesi

Sum1 Investments

Country: South Africa

Sum1 Investments is a short-term investment stokvel that enables low-middle-income consumers to invest in easy-to-understand assets in their communities to create above-market returns to help them reach their financial goals.

Founder: Kurhula Baloyi


Country: South Africa

Thumeza uses smart contracts to provide access to credit to small-scale transporters active in the supply chain sector.

Founders: Gugulethu Siso and Tebogo Manakana


Country: Lesotho

Chaperone is solving the challenge of financial exclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa by working with corporates to digitise their ecosystems. Chaperone develops tailor-made digital financial solutions for corporations and governments with the goal of better serving and ensuring access to financial services for SMEs that form part of clients’ ecosystems.

Founder: Mohau Mochebelele


Country: Namibia

FundRoof is Africa’s mortgage game-changer, connecting home buyers, lenders, and developers in one integrated housing platform. The mission is to extend access to finance for the millions of homebuyers across the region while empowering lenders and developers with leads and conversion tools.

Founders: Samuel Akinin and Carlos Campos

Ipachi Capital

Country: Botswana

Ipachi is an AI-powered app that seamlessly creates financial reports in real-time that small businesses can use to prove their creditworthiness and get access to credit.

Founder: Shine Chivia

Prime Capital

Country: Lesotho

Prime Capital is a microfinance institution that provides access to capital for SMEs in Lesotho. It aims to help high-growth businesses achieve their full potential by offering flexible financing solutions tailored to their needs, and in turn, drive economic growth and job creation in the local economy.

Founders: Nini Rose Moru and Tekane Ledimo

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