With An Emphasis On Mobility, Zazu Is Forging A New Standard For Banking In Sub-Saharan Africa


The Benzinga Global Fintech Awards are a yearly showcase of the greatest advents in fintech from leaders and visionaries in the worlds of finance and technology. This year, we have executives, developers and innovators from the likes of Facebook, Amazon, IBM, JP Morgan, Zelle, TD Ameritrade, TradeStation, Fidelity, and so many more.

In preparation for its biggest installment yet this May, we’re profiling the companies competing for the BZ Awards. In this feature we focus in on Zazu.

What does your company do? What unique problem does it solve?

Perseus Mlambo, Founder & CEO: The number of unbanked adults in Sub-Saharan Africa is 350 million, and in Zambia, only 24.8 percent of adults have or use commercial banks. The value of mobile money transactions in Sub Saharan Africa surged to $656m in 2014 and could more than double to $1.3bn by 2019. As more people from Sub Saharan Africa come online, they will be looking for new ways to move money, bank, and access financial services.

Zazu is developing a prepaid card with a companion app to offer a real-time log of a consumer’s spending & control on the card’s usage. Zazu has also developed a chatbot accessible via USSD and voice channels, to teach low income households about financial literacy. This chatbot, has been developed alongside Financial Sector Deepening Zambia (FSDZ), funded by the UK Department for International Development.

Who are your customers?

Mlambo: Our aim is to deliver integral financial services to an increasingly growing (size and sophistication) base. In order to capitalise on this growth, we are building Zazu to provide the payment ‘rails’ on which a broad range of financial services can be delivered cheaply and conveniently to all. We see comparables as DfID funded MPesa who continue to be the poster child for mobile money around the world. Similarly, Monzo in Europe have demonstrated that a well developed challenger bank with customer centricity at its heart can succeed.

How long have you been in business?

Mlambo: Since October 2015.

Where are you located?

Mlambo: In Zambia, Africa.

Who is your company’s leadership? What kind of experience do they have?

  • Founder & CEO – Perseus Mlambo, previously worked at Barclays Estates & Trusts and UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
  • Founder & COO – Alessandra Martini, London School of Economics graduate and Rift Valley Institute
  • CTO – Adam Farah, Lloyds Banking Group
  • Director – Maarten Weehuizen, Royal Bank of Scotland and currently COO at Quest Fund Placement Limited

Who are your investors, if any?

  • Seedrs
  • Damien Lane – Episode 1 Ventures
  • Simon Murdoch, Episode 1 Ventures
  • Fede Pirzio-Biroli – Playfair Capital

Is there anything else Benzinga should know about your company?

We are developing a helpful company, making finance fun and putting Africa on the map. We recently got named one of the top 50 digital banks in the world by Financial It Magazine.

You can grab your tickets here!

To meet with the minds behind companies like Zazu and others testing the cutting edge of fintech, grab a ticket to the Benzinga Global Fintech Awards May 15-16 in New York.

This article was originally published on Benzinga by Chris Dier-Scalise, Benzinga Staff Writer.