By Ajong Mbapndah L
From Kenya, Xetova, a technology solutions provider is reshaping the procurement ecosystem. Xetova is providing big buyers with solutions to be more efficient, better collaborate with suppliers, deliver more value and be more inclusive of local industry.
“By facilitating this level of real-time data and process collaboration, our tech assists 40% more SMEs in the procurement marketplace to access finance they need to fulfil their purchase orders or contracts,” says founder and CEO Bramuel Mwalo.
Could you start by introducing Xetova and the logic behind its creation?
We believe that the procurement marketplace is the largest trade opportunity provider on the continent. A big challenge to access and reap success from these opportunities, is the access to capital, hence the idea to set up the Xetova marketplace.
What is the value that could be added to business in Kenya if they use your services?
The marketplace is a tool that can be used to enhance their competitive edge. We are not inventing a new transaction instrument for SME financing.
What we have done is provide tools that allow secure data collection, seamless data sharing and processing of relevant insights to enhance the current traditional access to trade finance. By facilitating this level of real-time data and process collaboration, our tech assists 40% more SMEs in the procurement marketplace to access finance they need to fulfil their purchase orders or contracts.
Since its creation what are some of the success stories you have registered and what are the challenges you have faced?
We have tested the marketplace, have gotten very promising results and currently preparing to scale.
Banks have shown considerable interest in taking it up to deploy in their already existing ecosystem.
Banks are uniquely placed as they already have buyers and suppliers as clients. ABSA Bank Kenya PLC, National Bank of Kenya and Momentum Credit are our clients. We have run successful pilots and are currently going through the process of scaling the environment they need to better identify and support performing suppliers.
What is the client base like at the moment for Xetova and any plans to eventually expand it to other parts of East Africa and beyond?
ABSA Bank Kenya PLC, National Bank of Kenya and Momentum Credit are among our clients. And we definitely plan to expand our footprint.
May we get your impressions after the recent selection of Xetova as one of the recipients of the inaugural Jua Fund?
We remain appreciative and encouraged by the deal we have closed with Jua Fund. This was very timely and something we would not easily have gotten elsewhere especially for our type of company as a fully owned African company from the current VC space.
How are things going to change for Xetova with this selection, what impact will this selection have on your vision and operations?
With what we know so far, the Jua team is likely to bring the resource, network and experience we need to scale across the Continent. We can only look ahead and prepare to fly.
What role do you entrepreneurs like yourself and others playing in the development of Kenya and Africa and how important is it to have more initiatives like the Jua Fund?
Development is simply a bunch of ideas, and resources working together. Entrepreneurs are important in this as either they are good at seeing the opportunities, bringing people together or taking the risk in using their own resources to kickstart something they believe is important. They are important in building the confidence and providing the evidence to stimulate support from government, corporates, and other development actors. Entrepreneurs are the backbone of Africa’s development and solution to Africa’s most difficult problems.
To young Africans who see in you now an example to follow in their entrepreneurial journey, what words of wisdom or success tips can you share with them?
Entrepreneurship is not a sprint. It is also not a competition, so set your own clock and you have all the time to grow. Take your time to learn as much as you can, seek counsel from those you can access, start from where you are and be kind to yourself. It all works out in the end for those who genuinely follow their path.