How These Two SA Startups Made It Onto The World’s Best 100 Fintech Companies List

Updated on 23 February 2017

Subscription Form (#66)

Of the thousands of fintech companies in the world, two locally-based startups have been chosen among the best 100.

Zoona and Wealth Migrate, have just been named in the 2016 Fintech100, an annual top 100 Fintech Innovators list that compiles the leading 50 established fintech companies across the globe, as well as the most intriguing 50 ‘Emerging Stars’. Fintech Innovators is a collaboration between fintech investment firm, H2 Ventures and KPMG Fintech.

With vastly different services, business models and markets, these two businesses have one thing in common – they have managed to reach numerous milestones that usually take most businesses many years to achieve.

From multi-million dollar rounds of funding, continental or global expansion and market penetration to numerous industry awards, Zoona and Wealth Migrate have done all within their less-than-ten-year histories.

Here’s a timeline of some of these highlights and significant milestones along their journey to becoming among the best in the globe.


Who is Zoona: Launched in 2009, Zoona is a Cape Town-based money transfer company operating primarily in Zambia and other Sub-Saharan countries. Zoona provides mobile money services to unbanked or underbanked consumers and is credited with bringing the Uber model to the mobile finance and remittances industry.

Founders: Brothers Brett and Brad Magrath

2012: The company raises US$4 million in an international Series A round led by Omidyar Network and Quona Capital allowing the business to not only expand its planning horizon but also giving them resources to concentrate on ideas and innovations that, according to CEO Mike Quinn, resulted in a big inflection point in their growth.

2015:  Zoona reaches 250 active outlets across Malawi after only 10 months of operations, with the company saying that the market is reacting very well to the offering with positive word-of-mouth and consumer retention rates of close to 90% in the first six months of the year.

2016: Zoona announces that it has processed more than $1 billion in transactions with Lelemba Phiri, chief marketing officer at Zoona, saying the milestone is a vindication and vote of confidence from consumers.

2016: Having grown from a team of 2 to over 150 people with 25 nationalities across four countries, Zoona successfully raises $15-million (R200-million) in a second round of financing led by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, as well as first round investors Accion, a global nonprofit and pioneer in the field of financial inclusion, and Omidyar Network, an impact investment firm started by eBay founder Pierre scale our operations into new markets and develop new innovative products.

2016: Zoona is awarded the Social Entrepreneurship Award at the Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship (AAE) that recognize African entrepreneurs who are dedicated to social impact.

2016: The startup is selected as part of the top 50 of the Global 2016 Fintech 100 list, a collaboration between fintech investment firm, H2 Ventures and KPMG FintechZoona is listed among the most intriguing 50 ‘Emerging Stars’ described as ‘new fintechs with bold, disruptive and potentially game-changing ideas’.

2017: CEO Mike Quinn says Zoona is working to scale up its operations to reach 10 markets and 30 million active consumers across Africa by 2020.

Wealth Migrate

Who is Wealth Migrate: This is a global online real estate investment marketplace that was launched in 2010 and aims to give investors direct access to real estate investment opportunities in markets around the world. It is, according to research firm Massolution, the tenth-largest global real estate crowdfunding platform.

Founders: Scott Picken and Hennie Bezuidenhoudt

2014: The Huffington Post lists Wealth Migrate as one of the top 60 United States Real Estate Crowdfunding Platforms. celebrating businesses that have brought innovative services which have succeeded in bringing crowdfunding in the real estate business to prominence as a credible and reliable source of raising capital.

2015: Wealth Migrate raises $3.99 million (USD) in a seed round of funding from real estate, technology and other investors. The funding is reported to try and help Wealth Migrate expand its reach into key global markets, enhance its robust online investment platform and retain top-tier talent from around the world.

2015: With offices already in Singapore and Hong Kong, Wealth Migrate open new offices in Shanghai further expanding its reach into the lucrative Asian market, according to founder Scott Picken.

2015: Wealth Migrate announces that its leadership team has been a part of $1.3 billion in real estate transactions worldwide. This, according to Picken is due to the team’s extensive experience that also allows them to see challenges and opportunities unapparent to many.

2016: Wealth Migrate is placed in the top three at the first-ever African FinTech Awards, an awards ceremony that celebrates innovators that shape the future of finance and acknowledge the work these companies do to make a difference. The Awards also form part of the Finance Indaba – the largest finance event on the continent.

2016: Wealth Migrate was selected as part of the top 50 of the Global 2016 Fintech 100 list, for the use of technology and driving disruption within the financial services industry. According to Fintech Innovators, Wealth Migrate is part of the companies that have a commitment to excellence, superior customer experience and a demonstrated ability to do something in a market better than everyone else.

2017: The platform’s management team is hoping to use the power of crowdfunding to fill the funding gaps present in many prime real estate markets.

Get Weekly 5-Minutes Business Advice

Subscribe to receive actionable business tips and resources.

Subscription Form (#66)

Feeling Stuck?