When Mr Ben Lyon came to Uganda on a research trip in 2007, he was fascinated by Uganda’s microfinance sector. He was also blown away by the ability for Ugandans to transfer airtime to one another and money too.
“I had never seen that in my life,” he says. He left after three months with the conclusion that the idea of mobile money transfer had endless possibilities. So he started a company and zeroed in on merchant payments in Kenya.
“We launched Kopo Kopo which became the industry’s first merchant aggregator where we would go and acquire merchants directly and then bring thousands of merchants to the operator and then maintain that relationship,” Mr Lyon says.