A new startup, Afrocoin Mobile Money, is set to launch in the coming months (or weeks, we have no idea right now) as a new player in the remittances and mobile money transfer market. Afrocoin is headquartered in Canada but appears to have been founded by Zimbabweans and built first to be a Mukuru-style remittance solution for Zimbabweans in the diaspora as well as a mobile money transfer (MMT) solution for Zimbabweans in Zimbabwe. That is MMT loosely in the mold of EcoCash, OneWallet, Textacash, Cellcard, E-mali and others.
According to the startup’s Crunchbase profile, it was founded in November last year and they consider their competition to be Western Union. Competing with WU in the sense that “Afrocoin allows you to send money from anywhere in the world to SADC” mainly from Canada, the US and the UK. But their website tells a wider vision. Apparently they already have 90 agents and a partner bank and intend to go after local remittances too:
In Zimbabwe you can cash-in with our banking partner or at any one of our 90 agents across the country to load your mobile phone with Afrocoin e-money and then send it fast and securely by sms to any mobile phone. The receiver can then use their mobile phone to cash-out at an agent location nearest to them and walk away with hard cash in a matter of seconds!
From what we can observe via screenshots on their Crunchbase profile, the company doesn’t have – and probably doesn’t expect to be granted easy – mobile network level access to do USSD traffic for their service in Zimbabwe. Understandably not easy to get, ask the banks! Their service looks to be based on a mobile app (probably Android or IOS, or both), but there’s mention of SMS as well so…
Expect more details as we get them. In the meantime, here are the mobile app screenshots: