Two Kenyan startups make it into WEF’s 2018 Technology Pioneers Cohort

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has named two Kenyan fintech startups, BitPesa and CarePay, as part of its 2018 Technology Pioneers cohort.

BitPesa and CarePay are the only African companies in the cohort of 61 early-stage companies from around the world. Ovamba — a US-based fintech which provides short-term capital to small businesses in Africa and the Middle East — also made the cut.

The cohort will over the next two years participate in the WEF’s initiatives, activities, including this September’s Annual Meeting of the New Champions in China, and next year’s Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

BitPesa and CarePay are the only African startups in the WEF’s 2018 Technology Cohort.

In a statement announcing the cohort yesterday, the head of the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and member of the managing board at the WEF Cheryl Martin, said the selection of the 61 recognises that “innovation comes from all corners of the earth and from a very diverse group of entrepreneurs”.

“The next step is to help these pioneers bring their solutions to complex world-critical problems to global markets and to take action for the public good,” said Martin.

Founded in 2013 by CEO Elizabeth Rossiello, BitPesa is a digital foreign exchange and payment platform that uses blockchain settlement to significantly lower the cost and increase the speed of business payments to and from frontier markets.

CarePay was founded in 2014 by Michiel Slootweg and CEO Kees van Lede. Through its M-TIBA platform, the startup enables patients to pay and save for healthcare, while providers are able to send their invoices to healthcare insurers using the service.

In addition the data that the platform generates can be used by governments to improve resource allocation.

The Technology Pioneer initiative was launched in 2000 and aims to recognise early-stage companies from around the world that are developing new technologies and innovations that are poised to make a significant impact on business and society.

Companies that have been selected in the past include Google, Airbnb, Wikimedia, Kickstarter, Mozilla, Twitter, and Spotify.

Daniel Mpala


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