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Kennedy Ekezie-Joseph Who Led TikTok’s Entry Into Africa, Has Built His Fintech Startup, Kippa

Kennedy Ekezie-Joseph who helped lead TikTok’s entry into Africa, was no longer with the company in their moment of triumph. Instead, he was building his new fintech start-up, Kippa.

Kippa (a play on book-‘keeper’) is a bookkeeping mobile app that allows small business owners to keep track of their daily income and expense transactions, issue invoices, provide receipts to their customers and create marketing materials like business cards.

The app also keeps track of debtors who owe the subscriber companies money.

Kippa, is a bookkeeping and finance app that was founded by Kennedy Ekezie-Joseph , Duke Ekezie (his brother) and Jephthah Uche in February 2021. In November, the firm hauled in $3.2 million in pre-seed funding.

Mobile phone and WhatsApp-friendly app, Kippa targets small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) providing them with free, easy-to-use accounting software.

“In Nigeria today, there are 47 million SMEs. About 280,000 merchants out of that number, have used the product and our goal in the next five to ten years to capture as much of that number as possible, by building out new features,” Ekezie-Joseph said.

As a child, Ekezie-Joseph saw first-hand how the absence of judicious record-keeping could impact fragile and shock-prone micro, small and medium-sized businesses

“My dad had a small business around when I was born, which he lost. And so for me, it really means a lot to build for a segment that I feel very intimately familiar with,” Ekezie-Joseph said.

When he launched Kippa, Ekezie-Joseph knew from personal experience that he was addressing an existential threat to businesses. This gave him and his team confidence.

“Traditionally, SMEs have been lagging when it comes to the adoption of digital technology. What we’ve seen is digital technology has changed very many other industries – healthcare, transport – but the way businesses are run and the overall back-office operations are still very manual, they’ve really not really changed” he noted.

“So what we’re trying to do here is unite the tailwind of the deep penetration of the internet that is continuing to grow across the continent and the smartphone penetration. So by 2025, Nigeria alone will contribute 4% of total new smartphone users in the world.”

Ekezie-Joseph and his team are now planning another round of fundraising to scale the company’s operations as they will be talking to investors . And one of the big things we believe in is building relationships early and taking time to identify the right partners to work with. So if we do meet investors who are the right fit, we’ll be able to work with them,” he said.

While acknowledging the economic impact of Covid-19 on the continent, Ekezie-Joseph noted that it had helped fuel the growth of the tech industry and internet adoption in Africa.

“That was the first time many merchants understood that they could do business online. That was the first time many consumers understood that they could transact with merchants online. So it almost helped us leapfrog the absence of trust around digital tools. And that’s been super helpful. And more and more people are doing business online now. So that is very significant for our growth as a business,”

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