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Konnect leads digital payments innovation in Maghreb

Tunisian media personality Wassim Ben Larbi (left) and AfricArena CEO Christophe Viarnaud (right) with Bechir Neifer, the head of business development at Konnect. It won the Best Seed Start-up Award at the AfricArena Tunisia Summit this week. Photo: Supplied/VIP Services

Konnect’s victory at the AfricArena Tunisia Summit is not just a confidence-booster, but also opens doors for collaborations with other regional players, particularly in the advanced paytech sector of South Africa.

This is the view of Bechir Neifer, the head of business development at Konnect which won the Best Seed Start-up Award at the Tunisia Summit this week. More than 200 people from across the world attended the event at City of Culture in Tunis.

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“It’s a springboard to explore new horizons and forge meaningful partnerships,” says Neifer.

The win not only marks a significant milestone for the online payment platform but also heralds a new era for digital transactions in Africa, particularly in the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) sector.

Amin Ben Abderrahman, the founder of Tunisia-based start-up Konnect. Photo: Supplied

Konnect’s journey began with a serendipitous moment when founder Amin Ben Abderrahman encountered the complexities of sending money to his cousin during a holiday trip from Zürich, Switzerland to Tunis in North Africa.

“Surprisingly, his cousin, aged 24, had neither a bank account nor a digital wallet,” explains Neifer.”The only available option was a traditional bank transfer, which would take an excruciating 24 hours to complete.

“This eye-opening experience catalysed the inception of Konnect, with a mission to empower businesses and individuals to seamlessly accept online payments, thereby eliminating such cumbersome hurdles.”

Faced with a relative lacking a bank account or digital wallet, Abderrahman envisioned a seamless solution. This experience led to the inception of Konnect, a platform committed to simplifying online payments and removing obstacles for businesses and individuals alike.

Konnect empowers MSMEs: Streamlining online transactions

Central to Konnect’s mission is empowering MSMEs in Africa. By replacing the prevalent cash-on-delivery model with online payments, the start-up offers these businesses a streamlined platform.

With accessible tools such as a single API, plugins, payment links, and QR codes, Konnect facilitates a smooth transition, reducing the rate of returned goods and simplifying cash management.

Neifer says, “This transition not only reduces the rate of returned goods but also streamlines cash management for these businesses. Moreover, our dedicated customer support team, in collaboration with a network of consulting firms, is always on standby to provide technical assistance, ensuring a seamless experience for our merchants.”

In the realm of online payments, security is paramount, Heifer adds. Konnect prioritises user trust by investing in stringent security measures. The platform obtained the PCI-DSS certification after seven months of rigorous efforts and conducted comprehensive penetration tests with Ernst & Young (EY). By encrypting all user data meticulously, it ensures that financial transactions are safeguarded, fostering confidence among businesses and consumers alike.

Innovations and expansion plans

Neifer expressed immense pride in Konnect’s victory at the AfricArena Tunisia Summit this week and hinted at exciting developments on the horizon. While specific details remain under wraps, he assured that ground-breaking features and services are in the works.

Although Africa remains the start-ups primary focus, Neifer suggested the possibility of broader expansion in the future.

The big win, says Neifer, “validates the hard work and dedication that has gone into building our platform. Looking ahead, we are eager to expand our footprint, beginning with the Maghreb region.”

As Konnect basks in the glory of its AfricArena Tunisia Summit triumph, the company stands at the threshold of transformative collaborations. With a commitment to innovation, security, and empowering businesses, its journey promises to reshape the landscape of online payments, not only in Tunisia but across the African continent and beyond.

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