Home » Meet 36-year-old Kenyan entrepreneur who recently secured $3 million for her startup

Meet 36-year-old Kenyan entrepreneur who recently secured $3 million for her startup

by Omokolade Ajayi
Kenyan entrepreneur

As a multifaceted electrical engineer, businesswoman, and language-savvy Kenyan entrepreneur, Cynthia Wandia is setting a new standard in the African financial technology space.

With her unique blend of technical expertise and business acumen, the entrepreneur is revolutionizing the way financial services are delivered in Africa, offering secure, accessible, and affordable online and mobile banking options to cooperative financial institutions and their members.

Wandia is the CEO and co-founder of Kwara Limited, a Kenyan-based online and mobile banking platform that caters to financial cooperatives, credit unions, and community banks. She is also the managing director of ASTRA Innovations, a German-based enterprise that she co-founded.

The 36-year-old entrepreneur’s passion for making a difference in the world started at a young age, and it was her grandmother, a coffee farmer who dealt with savings and credit cooperatives (saccos), who inspired her to start her journey as an entrepreneur.

Wandia’s entrepreneurial journey took her to different countries, where she worked on various projects that enabled her to gain the skills and experience she needed to make a difference in the world of financial technology. She co-founded ASTRA Innovations in 2014, and since then, she has been in charge of the group’s business development and manages its strategic course.

Her latest venture, Kwara, is a fintech startup that she co-founded in 2019 with David Hwan. The startup has been making waves in the financial technology world, and it recently raised $3 million in seed extension funding, led by existing investors such as DOB Equity, Globivest, and Willard Ahdritz, the founder of Kobalt Music, and new backers such as One Day Yes, Base Capital, and fintech executives including Mikko Salovaara, the CFO of Revolut.

Wandia and her team at Kwara are on a mission to deliver a secure, delightful, and affordable online and mobile banking experience for cooperative financial institutions and their members, starting in Africa.

The startup aims to provide enterprise-grade features for large, well-capitalized Saccos that are on par with traditional banks. Additionally, Kwara is investing in improving the overall neo-banking experience by adding features that will help members personalize their financial goals and work towards achieving them.

With the latest raise, Kwara’s total funding to date is now at $7 million. Under the leadership of Wandia and David Hwan, the startup has expanded its client base to 120 from 50 by the end of 2021 and operates in South Africa and the Philippines.

It has also signed an exclusive digital solutions distribution agreement with the Kenya Union of Savings and Credit Cooperatives (KUSCCO), which will give Kwara access to a pool of more than 4,000 saccos for its banking-as-a-service offering. The deal also includes the acquisition of KUSCCO’s subsidiary, IRNET, a software company for saccos, for an undisclosed amount.

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