Startup snapshot: Angolan payments company getting in early ahead of the big banks

UseKamba, or Kamba for short, is an Angola-based fintech startup. Its mobile wallet application allows users to transfer funds between each other, buy airtime and pay bills.

“The main reason behind the existence of Kamba is the need to revolutionise, boost, democratise and innovate financial and payment services in the Angolan market. Currently, there is no efficient solution to purchase goods and services over the internet in Angola,” says Amarildo Lucas, one of the founders.

Lucas and his two co-founders, Airton de Assunção Lucas and Alexandre Juca, answered How we made it in Africa’s questions.

1. How did you finance your startup?

We are self-funded at the moment. As founders we have been investing our money to keep our business alive. Our CFO has been investing the most money in business, as he has more substantial sources of capital.

2. If you were given US$1m to invest in your company now, where would it go?

First of all, we will redo our sustainable long-term business plan to be aligned with the US$1m capital injection. Then we will invest in technology and grow our team in order to elevate the business and meet our vision and goals, such as delivering a better financial and payment service for millions of Angolans and perhaps Africans. We will also spend more on our marketing strategy, as we desire to grow our consumer base rapidly. Furthermore, we will work to keep our costs low, and invest more in our operations and infrastructure to improve our clients’ experience as we see them as our best asset.

In short, we will invest and reinvest in the business and expansion plans as we focus on the future of the company.

3. What risks does your business face?

As we are working with financial and payment services, we believe that we are facing several risks. But one of the biggest risks we can face is that, at any time, Angolan banks with more resources can start investing into this market and gain more market share because of their positioned brand and current client base.

4. So far, what has proven to be the most successful form of marketing?

The most successful form of marketing so far is direct SMS. With it, we influence our users, so that they refer their friends, and then those friends refer their friends, and so on. Furthermore, we are using other tools of guerrilla marketing as well. We are using notifications in the app in order to keep users up to date so they can advertise our product.

5. Describe your most exciting entrepreneurial moment?

We’ve had a lot of exciting entrepreneurial moments, such as being selected for Seedstars Africa, the invitation for the Visa’s Everywhere Initiative for Africa and interest from angel investors; but for us, the most exciting moment was to launch Kamba into the Angolan market, as many Angolans have been struggling to transact and purchase goods and services over the internet.

6. What has been the biggest mistake, and what have you learnt from it?

One of biggest mistake we have made, was to hire some people who had not proven their skills, and who were not aligned with our vision and business goals. We learnt that neither curriculum vitae or grades are enough to measure skills, talent, creativity and leadership.