Koree, a Cameroonian fintech, emerged victorious in the Ecobank Fintech Challenge, surpassing nearly 1,500 competing fintechs. The competition culminated in Koree being awarded $50,000 in non-dilutive funding. The DRC-based fintech, Wolf Technologies, secured the second position, earning $10,000, while Kenyan fintech Flexpay clinched third place with a $5,000 prize.
Magalie Gauze, the founder of Koree, expressed her intentions to use the prize money for hiring professionals in business development and engineering roles. She also revealed that Koree plans to establish a physical office in Douala, Cameroon, to foster team cohesion and build a stronger corporate culture. Koree’s product aims to address the issue of spare change in cash-based economies by providing a card and digital wallet solution that enables merchants to return customers’ spare change. Additionally, merchants can create loyalty programs offering cashback rewards. In the past year, Koree has successfully registered over 11,000 users and processed more than 40,000 cash-based transactions, totaling $285,000. The fintech generates revenue by charging clients a transaction commission and a subscription fee for merchants.
The Ecobank Fintech Challenge’s eight finalists included companies such as Flexpay Technologies (Kenya), IPOXcap AI (South Africa), Kastelo (South Africa), Koree (Cameroon), Kori Tech (Senegal), SmartTeller Technologies (Nigeria), Rubyx (Belgium), and Wolf Technologies (DRC). The CEO of SmartTeller, Oluwole Ogunwande, described the competition as one of the most challenging he had participated in.
Ecobank, one of Africa’s largest banks, with a presence in 35 African countries, has been organizing the fintech challenge for six years. Koree’s victory marks a historic milestone as the first francophone and woman-led fintech to win the competition. All eight finalists will be inducted into the Ecobank Fintech Fellowship, joining previous alumni like Piggyvest, Touch and Pay, Moni, and Nala.
During a fireside chat at the event, Micheal Oluwole, co-founder of Touch and Pay and last year’s winner, shared the transformative impact of the competition. His company leveraged the prize to expand into Ghana and conduct experiments to drive its growth. Since winning last year, Touch and Pay’s user base doubled to two million, making it the largest processor of contactless payments in Nigeria.
The competition’s alumni network has collectively raised $90 million in funding since participating, and 10 of them have integrated into Ecobank’s pan-African sandbox, offering them access to test their products in 35 African countries. Dr. Tomisi Fashina, Ecobank’s Group Executive for Operations and Technology, noted that the bank’s investment in the challenge has significantly contributed to the growth of its fintech unit, leading to a 28% increase in digital payments.