Nairobi, Kenya

Leap² Innovation Challenge on Fintech. Theme: Fintech.

The goal of ZOAme is simply to increase access to credit facilities. ZOAme is an online digital platform that connects anyone who has money to lend to anyone who wants money to borrow.  There are millions of Kenyans in search of affordable credit and ZOAme is the platform that will give information on such facilities.


What  problem is ZOA solving?

The founder tells: Mama Fatuma, my vegetable supplier had a bank account and saved money in it. She put in USD$50 in her account. After a couple of months of checking on it, she found her account balance was USD$30. There were bank charges, and other charges she didn't know about. So she withdrew all her money and instead put it under her mattress. Now since she no longer had a bank account, when she needed an advance in cash she would borrow from her neighbors, friends and other people from her social circles.

After some time, I met with mama Fatuma again and found out that with the help of her chamaa (informal savings group) she has been able to get a loan of USD$200 that she will use to buy stock for her small shop. She hoped that she could access more money. But she doesn’t know where. For a bank, she would have to open a bank account then go to the branch again to apply for a loan. With her lack of formal financial transactions, her loan is likely to be denied. She also told me about her daughter, Fatuma, who has a similar challenge with accessing credit facilities.

I later on met with Fatuma. She is a 33 year old enterpreneur with a retail shop of her own. She also borrows money from her social circles but in small amounts of about USD $10. She needs to get larger amounts like USD$100 to help her grow faster. She has Mobile money which she uses to pay supplies and buy stock for her shop.

Mama Fatuma, her daughter and 8.7 Million other Kenyans rely on informal sources of financial services including credit from their friends, supplies, local shops etc. They do not have trackable financial records, or a credible financial history.

On the other hand, there is RENDI Capital firm. They give credit facilities to individuals and small enterprises for an interest. RENDI capital struggles with onboarding new loans because it takes long to vet the borrower, also, they have the challenge of keeping track of all the loan repayments and making reports of all their investments. RENDI wants to grow his customer base from Eastleigh area to other areas in Nairobi and Kenya. However, he does not have stuff to setup as agents in the other areas.

How does ZOA solve for loan access?

According to the 2016 sector statistics from the Communications Authority, Kenya now has over 90% mobile penetration. Also, according to Google’s Consumer Barometer, smartphone uptake in Kenya is now at 44% in 2016. Smart phone uptake in Africa is at 226 million (GSMA 2016).

ZOAme offers a mobile and web based platform to access credit facilities from capital firms, investment companies, credit unions, Micro Finance Institutions and other individuals. ZOAme also has a knowledge base with information on credit, credit scoring, the importance of a credit history, the importance of paying back loans on time and other financial services.

How does it work?

Are you a lender? The ZOAme platform empowers you to access registered and verified customers online. Give them loans and they pay you back. You keep all the interest you earn! There is no minimum lending amount so anyone can lend money. As a lender you also get to approve all the loan requests online or on your mobile phone anytime.

Are you a borrower? ZOAme gives you a platform that to access credit facilities. You register, we verify you and you can begin applying for loans on the platform.

All customers get access to their financial transactions and statements that form an important part of their financial history. ZOAme is online and has a mobile application so it is accessible anywhere at anytime.s.

What's in it for the lender?

  • Access to verified customers
  • Loan origination
  • Online Loan approval
  • Loan processing and tracking
  • Loan disbursement
  • Loan repayments and tracking
  • Data Analysis and dashboard reporting
  • Report generation (.csv, .xlsx,.pdf)
  • No need for hardware & infrastructure

What's in it for borrower?

  • Branchless account Registration
  • Online Loan application
  • Loan status notifications
  • Loan disbursement straight to account
  • Download statements
  • Instant balance inquiry
  • Easy loan repayments