11 Nigerian startups selected for AWS’s first ‘fintech in Africa’ accelerator cohort

Godfrey Elimian
Sekai Ndemanga, Head of FinTech Venture Capital and Startup Business Development at Amazon Web Services (AWS), speaks at the 9th Africa Fintech Summit in Washington DC on April 12, 2023.
Photograph by Travis Houze for Travis Houze Photography. Please DO NOT crop and/or alter in any way.

11 Nigerian fintech startups have been selected as part of the 24 fintech startup list for the inaugural Amazon Web Service (AWS) Fintech Africa Accelerator cohort which is set to begin later this year in June.

The 11 Nigerian pre-seed and seed-stage fintech startups, together with their counterparts, will start the 10-week program in June. Each startup will get technical review workshop sessions and up to $25K USD in AWS technical credits, world-leading sector advice and one-to-one mentorship from major industry players including the Africa Fintech Summit (AFTS), Lendsqr and Vestbee to help them build their businesses.  

The 11 Nigerian fintech startups are Ashiri NG, bunce, DeemPay, Fluna, Incash, KoinWa, Stacs, Vagrent Africa, WALLX Africa, Zainnest, and Zeeh Africa. Kenyan, South Africa and Egypt which completed the big 4s in Africa had four, two and one respectively.

Read also: Amazon launches 10-week accelerator program for AI startups globally

The AWS Fintech-in-Africa Accelerator

As reported in March, Amazon Web Services Startup Loft Accelerator first announced its inaugural its AWS FinTech Africa Accelerator in March this year. According to the team, the global program is designed to help ten early-stage startups to build and launch in the Generative AI industry.

It then made the call for pre-seed and seed-stage fintech founders operating in Africa and building companies to solve fundamental issues in payments, open/embedded finance, digital banking, blockchain, decentralized finance, fintech-as-a-service, and other fintech categories to apply to the cohort. The application process was on until April 27, 2023.

Now, the company has announced that 25 African fintech startups have been selected for the inaugural FinTech Africa Accelerator cohort. It says the cohort was selected from over 500 applications and is part of the EMEA Startup Loft Accelerator (SLA) program run by AWS.

According to Napa Onwusah, Start-up Segment Lead at AWS, the company is thrilled to be a part of Africa’s digital transformation, making core financial services accessible to more individuals and businesses.

“We believe that anyone regardless of their location, should be able to access innovative technologies and realize their dreams,” said . “I am excited that the accelerator will be instrumental in empowering these startups to grow and scale their businesses.”

The cohort includes eleven startups from Nigeria. The four from Kenya are – Chumz, hela.money, Kiotapay, and Mauzo. Four from Ghana include – Asaana Pay, Edanra, Exxtra, and H28 Technologies. There are two from Uganda –  eMaisha Pay and Xazu Technologies – and two from South Africa – Abela iMali and Moya Money. Dreamcash, a startup from Cameroon and MazAid, an Egyptian startup are also part of the cohort. 

While all participating startups are fintech companies, the program welcomed a diverse array of value propositions and verticals including finance/lending for MSME’s, cryptocurrency transactions, global remittance products, freelancer payment & invoice management, export/import management, and much more. 

Co-Founder and Managing Partner of First Circle Capital, Agnes Aistleitner Kisuule stated, “The program is a great opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs to hone their ideas, get exposed to the tech industry and drive growth in Africa’s financial services industry.”

“FinTech is imperative for Africa’s economic growth so programs like this provide the expert training and support that early-stage FinTech companies need to scale to the next level and boost the continent’s digital economy,”

Barbara Iyayi,, Founding Managing Partner at Unicorn Growth Capital.

Adedeji Olowe, the Founder & CEO of Lendsqr and a Trustee with Open Banking Nigeria stated, “AWS is making a huge impact on the startup ecosystem globally. Its secure and flexible cloud infrastructure allows startups to focus on developing innovative products to attract VC funding – a real need for them.

Over 90% of startups we know created their Minimum Viable Product (MVP) on AWS. Products like Compute, and Amazon SageMaker among others help them to build fast-scaling products that VCs like us love to back. We are excited to provide our expertise to young startups as part of the program.

Read also: African Fintech is projected to generate $65 billion with a 32% CAGR by 2030, but certain issues must be addressed

Africa’s fintech ecosystem is one of the fastest growing globally, reaching $2bn in 2022, according to data from Briter Bridges. Six out of seven of the continent’s unicorns operate in the financial services industry.

AWS Opens Lagos Office, increases commitment to Africa

Amazon continues to expand its investments in innovative startups, particularly in Africa, after its first entrance into the world of accelerator programs in 2016, with an accelerator program for startups focused on conversational AI. It also created the Alexa Prize for conversational AI for college students.

With the focus on AI, this program is looking to take this technology out of the realm of research. AWS believes that the startup ecosystem is a catalyst for innovation in AI and is looking to offer another avenue of support for the top Generative AI companies in the world.

The program is supported by major players in the African financial technology industry including the Africa Fintech Summit, Unicorn Growth Capital, Lateral Frontiers VC, First Circle, Dawn Capital, White Star Capital, Blackfin Capital Partners, Vestbee, Alma Angels, Flashpoint Venture Capital, Vertis Capital, Next Road Ventures, Afrolynk, Stripe, Zendesk Startups, Techcabal, Paga, Lendsqr, and Conduit. 

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