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Announcing our Investment

Announcing our Funding Round 
Yesterday we completed a funding round, to build a digital bank for Africa’s future.
Across Africa, there are 350 Million people who do not use banks. Some are afraid to walk into a bank because they don’t know what banks do and some don’t use banks because branches are too far from them. More importantly, most who use banks, agree that banking in Africa is expensive.
Since discovering this, we have been obsessed with one question: how can we get more people banking and actually enjoy it? We think that Africa is on the precipice of huge digital revolution. Not only is Africa home to one of the youngest population in the world, but upward social mobility has been a rising trend every year and technology is being adopted at every level.
350 Million unbanked people across Africa. Banks need to market better, because they are seen as products for the rich and crucially, mobile wallets are seen as products for the poor. The end result, is 350 Million people who are unbanked. Their savings, are likely to be in cash at home or in assets. If they borrow money, it’s likely to be from friends & family. That is no way to live.
And then there are the Millenials. These are people who have leapfrogged entire technologies, they have never used landlines and have never used a fax. But the current banking experience expects them to spend an hour queuing in branch and then after that, fill in some paper forms only to wait 3 weeks to get a bank account. Once they get the account, they are told to log in online to see their balances, only to be presented with a list of information that can’t be actioned.  The current banking experience is counter intuitive to the human experience, because it does not help individuals in the slightest.
In order to capitalise on the continent’s upward social mobility and if people are going to self-finance out of poverty, financial services need to be more accessible and transparent. We need to educate people on what a bank is, what words like interest rate, savings or loans actually mean. At the same time, we need to simplify how ordinary people can open and maintain a bank account. We need to present financial information in a way that makes it easy to understand what is going on with my finances. And more importantly, we need to use advanced algorithms to simplify lending & borrowing.
At Zazu, we are a building a bank for Africa’s future. Imagine opening a bank account in 2 minutes from a phone. If you want to make a deposit, visit your nearest corner shop, instead of going to a branch. If you want to pay for the water bill or any other expenses, imagine doing it from your phone. As soon as money goes in or out of your account, imagine being instantly told of your accurate and up to date balance.  Imagine an account smart enough to automatically categorise your expenses. Imagine freezing and unfreezing your card via the app if you misplace it.
With this funding round we’ll be able to move further towards our vision. Because when people are banked, it allows them to flourish. They can save for the future, plan for a better tomorrow and have a healthy relationship with their money. This is why we are building a bank for Africa’s future. And we are especially pleased to welcome every single one of our investors on board. 

Building a Bank for Africa’s Future

Zazu is a technology bank based in the UK and operating in Zambia. In Africa, there are over 350 Million people who do not use banks because distance and price prohibit them. We believe that Africa can only continue to prosper if digital technologies are used to ensure that banking is accessible, transparent and affordable to everyone.

So what is Zazu?

Right now, Zazu is a pre-paid debit card linked to a companion app showing users where & how money is spent.

So how are we different from traditional banks?

Most banks in Africa charge you to open an account. And they charge high operating fees a month. If you want to do certain things, like inquire about your balance, or make a payment, you have to go to branch. In this branch, you regularly spend over 30 minutes.

Suffice to say that going to a branch is something very few people enjoy or look forward to.

We are different from other banks because we are a technology company first. That means, our product is built for your smartphone first. And as a result, you can do anything you want with your account, without going to any branch.

Examples of things you can do from the Zazu app:
– Open a bank account
– Send and receive money
– Check balances
– Pay bills

We are also different from other banks because of the way we built the bank. Most banks are really old. They are known as ‘legacy banks’. In some cases, the technology they use today, existed before the first iPhone existed. What this means, is these banks are unable to make changes to their products and services in a fast or meaningful way.

Zazu on the other hand, is building a technology bank, today. Updating or making changes to any part of the bank, is a matter of minutes, not months.

When can I use it?

Because we are a new player on the market, we have to satisfy Central Bank requirements. Once we are cleared to operate, we will be inviting users in small groups. We anticipate testing the product with up to 20 users in the next few months and thereafter, rolling out to 1500 users.

If you want to be one of these people on the 1500 list, sign up to our mailing list.

Zazu — Building a bank for Africa’s future.

What do Banks Really Do?

Banks are not that different from any other businesses. What sets them apart is that they work with money: looking after it, lending it, and helping you pay for things with it.

Looking after your money
Cash is very dangerous to walk around with. It’s fine to walk with small amounts of cash but if you carry huge amounts of cash, its very dangerous and criminals might rob you. So the safest place to put the money in, is a bank.
Really good banks around the world, do not charge you to use your account e.g. safekeep your money. So when you make a deposit into the bank, you are telling the bank to hold the money safe until you need it.

Lending Money
Because banks have many people telling them to hold their money, they can lend it to other people who need the money. A person might want a loan to get a roof for their house, buy a business or get married etc.
Banks lend money. Borrowers people spend the money on the economy, which makes the economy grow. Banks lend this money and get paid interest, which is just another way of saying they make a profit.

Because the bank is lending your money to someone else, the big bank in your country, which is the regulator, and in Zambia, is the Bank of Zambia, makes sure that all banks have sufficient financial resources (money) in case they lend to bad people who can’t afford to repay.

In the future, people will rely less and less on cash. This is because paying for things in cash, is expensive and keeps poor people, poor.
Banks around the world have to abide by global trends and help people to adapt to new environment. So they provide debit and credit cards to help you pay for things in shops or online.

When you use a card to buy, say, food, the money is transferred from your bank account to the bank account of the shop. Exactly the same thing happens when you pay for things using your debit or credit card online.

If these payments stopped working, then the entire economy would grind to a halt. This is why the Central Bank oversees these payments, to make sure they operate smoothly every day.

We are building a bank for Africa’s future. Sign up for updates.