New Podcast: A Conversation With PesaPal’s Founder Liko Agosta On Evolving To Become An End-To-End Digital Payments Ecosystem For Kenya & Africa.
It has taken me the better part of two years but finally, I managed to wrangle a podcast with Liko Agosta, Founder of PesaPal, one of Kenya’s and Africa’s leading and homegrown digital payments services providers. Liko is the type of founder and techie who likes to quietly put his head down and grinds away at solving big business problems without the hype or white hot attention that is currently associated with Africa’s burgeoning fintech sector that has seen more than a few unicorns raise astronomical funding rounds during the last few years or so.
Indeed, PesaPal only got its start in 2009 as a result of Liko and his team at Verviant, a now-defunct software development business, needing a way of receiving digital payments for an East African travel portal they developed and could not find a simple and effective solution that worked locally in Kenya. This led Liko and his team to build a very nascent digital payments platform called PesaPal which received only 3 payments during a period of a few months back in 2009! Since then, PesaPal became Liko’s sole focus and after just over a decade PesaPal is now arguably one of East Africa’s largest digital payments service providers with operations in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda serving a large range of clients in each of these countries.
PesaPal has evolved to become a fully-fledged digital payments ecosystem that includes e-commerce solutions for all businesses with the hospitality industry as its main focus and growth engine. PesaPal also offers advanced point of sale (POS) systems branded SABI for small and large merchants that can acquire both mobile and card payments seamlessly and easily. PesaPal has also built a unique travel booking engine called ReservePort that enables hotels to receive payments from customers locally and globally whilst connecting their accommodation offerings to global distribution systems (GDS) from their own property management systems.
During the pandemic, Liko and the team at PesaPal managed to help well-known hospitality groups like Art Caffe implement their own direct-to-consumer e-commerce platforms enabling them to bypass popular food delivery services but also integrate directly with them whilst connecting their own hospitality management systems. PesaPal also runs TicketSasa which is a popular e-ticketing platform for many events in Kenya. In a nutshell, Liko and PesaPal have come a long way so it was a real pleasure to sit down with Liko to unpack how he got his early start in technology as a teenager to build a behemoth of an African digital payments business in PesaPal with almost zero funding to-date. Have a listen here!