Specialized in banking solutions and mobile payments, this budding Luxembourg startup is making Africa the key focus of its strategy to deploy internationally in 2017. The team plans to leverage its early market penetration in France and Luxembourg to primarily address the French speaking zone of West Africa, which stands at the forefront of the next mobile revolution.
This year has indeed been a positive learning curve for the young company. Since June 2016, Koosmik has been testing its independent mobile transfer solution with a large panel of users in Luxembourg; which has proven to be an excellent laboratory. The feedback received from testers has been extremely useful and a key driver for perfecting the product. The international nature of the testing community has allowed them to continuously improve their user experience, and a well-crafted interface is now available on Android and iOS.
Today, Koosmik counts around 1,600 users, mainly in France and Luxembourg. The relevance of their online and contactless payment solutions has been acknowledged by key corporate clients from which the startup is already generating revenue. The team continues to consistently innovate and develop from Luxembourg where they benefit from a favorable local ecosystem. They already offer fully functional mobile banking services and intend to release new features oriented towards community channels and collaborative financial interactions.
“Through a simple a free mobile application anyone can gain access to an electronic bank account”
Koosmik’s management was quick to realize that the most mature region to foresee a rapid mass adoption of these innovative solutions was most certainly not going to be Europe. Europe’s population is an aging one that tends to value traditional payment methods, and it is well banked, with many Europeans holding more than one bank account or card. Thus, it’s the exact opposite of the African continent.
To this day, around 80% of Sub-Saharan Africa’s adult population remains unbanked. They neither have a bank card nor a bank account. However, an increasing number of Sub-Saharan Africans now own a smartphone. Through a simple and free mobile application anyone can gain access to an electronic bank account and a mobile payment solution, and this is how Koosmik hopes to provide financial inclusion to the excluded.
Indeed, for some months now, Koosmik has been preparing to land in this region where the potential is colossal. This population has no alternative to cash for purchases or daily exchanges. Undeniably, this inhibits these countries’ economic and social emancipation.
“Africa will be the first continent to mass adopt mobile banking”
“We are establishing ourselves where our main reservoir of new customers is,” explains Grégoire Yakan, CEO and founder of Koosmik. “Per the GSMA research institute, it is estimated that there will be 500 million new smartphone holders throughout Africa by 2020, consisting of individuals who for the most part have not yet got a bank account! Our solution will provide them with an immediate and comprehensive response. Clearly, they are our primary target.”
All the macro-economic indicators confirm this trend. According to findings by the World Bank, in 2016, 12% of adults in Sub-Saharan Africa owned a mobile money account against an average of 2% across the rest of the world. Africa will be the first continent to mass adopt mobile banking, and Koosmik looks forward to being a key player.
Koosmik will launch its first local subsidiary in West Africa in the first half of 2017. “We will build our team by leveraging Africa’s young active class locally and we will commit to serve users by structuring a short channel network of relay points,” states the founder.
To follow this roadmap over the next 18 months and to strengthen their team, Koosmik’s directors are counting on the success of their current funding round. The first signs are proving positive, having secured 30% of the target in 30 days and having formalized a key operational partnership with an emerging player of Africa’s hospitality sector. They are looking for investors, who have affinities with Africa’s growth potential, to complete this essential financing phase.
This article was first published in SILICON