Sam Achuku , founder of Juma, a fintech startup in East Africa

Inside Uganda’s emerging fintech ecosystem

It was the dawn of the internet age when the first online shopping platform for Africans debuted in Uganda (above). Today, the Kenyan-Ugandan tech hub of Kampala is a bustling mecca for digital technology – the home of Google HQ, Facebook headquarters, and dozens of tech startups.

But for many young people across East Africa, the internet is the latest in a long line of innovations – from the humble mobile phone to the social media revolution.

That’s where it begins

“We are the pioneers of many of the innovations which are available in Uganda today, especially with the internet and the mobile internet,” says Sam Achuku (pictured above), founder of the fintech startup and e-taxi provider, Juma, with more than 200 registered users across East Africa.

“When we started our company in 2010, all we did was create an online platform that connects people seeking to make money online and also connects the taxi drivers who work for us with the potential customers, so it created a win-win situation for everyone.”

When Achuku founded Juma, he was a 21-year-old business student. The idea for the startup was born during their time in college.

“We were doing the first year project of the company in which we decided to do a social media strategy,” Achuku explains.

“I was very much inspired by what I saw happening in Kenya and Uganda, especially Twitter and Facebook where people are able to connect with people based on their interests and who they are.

“I saw that people were connecting directly with people who they were already friends with and people connecting with people who they wanted to do business with.

“When I heard Facebook was making money, I thought that is what I had always wanted to do as well. I thought it would work very well for our users and for us as well in that sense.”

Juma is the only fintech company in East Africa which operates solely on a social media model.

The model works like this

“The first year of our company we just focused on making Juma a viable company. We started to register people with Facebook and Twitter so we could begin to build up a community of people who use our app,” he explains.


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