Greenhouse Capital Invests In Popote – A Kenyan Startup Tackling The Financial Control Problems Threatening SMEs In Africa

Lagos-based fintech investment company -GreenHouse Capital- invests in success-driven technology that could help stop African businesses from failing.

Despite the adoption of mobile money and banking apps, there has been negligible change in how businesses operate when outbound payments are concerned. In fact, in both the formal and informal business sectors in Africa, over 90% of expenses are still paid in cash and cheques, despite the risks, delays, and other problems they present.

GreenHouse Capital has invested in Kenyan startup Popote which is solving the problem of Financial Control by leveraging technology. The company’s product, PopotePay, is a platform that enables businesses to handle their outgoing payments digitally, supported by a best practice workflow: budgeting, payment initiation, authorizations, record keeping, and accounting. This is all tied together with a best in the class user interface that is easy to use. 

According to Sam Wanjohi, the founder and CEO of Popote, making payments in the old-fashioned way wastes time, risks fraud, destroys productivity, and suppresses growth.

“PopotePay allows businesses to link and payout of multiple bank accounts or mobile money wallets. Completed transactions are stored alongside their notes, attachments, authorization history, and accounting general ledger meaning the accounting part is also done. At the click of a button, records can be retrieved for use in preparing management or audited accounts. The entire process is seamless”, he explains.

Popote’s goal is to see businesses of all sizes making day-to-day payments with its solution–petty cash, suppliers, utilities, wages, payroll, and taxes–and in doing so, enabling accountants, managers, and owners to use their time on more impactful activities rather than drowning in mundane and repetitive administrative ones such as data entry and reconciliation.

“The high rate of failure of African businesses is largely as a result of poor expense management or internal funds misappropriation. With PopotePay employees can be empowered without loss of oversight or controls. ” says Wanjohi. 

Wanjohi has a deep personal understanding of the impact of relying on conventional payment methods from managing expenditure in his past venture. It was there that he decided that stagnated growth and becoming a slave to the business were both unacceptable options.

“There are only two areas in the payments landscape; income and expenditure. Most fintech have addressed the challenges of income through providing digital payment gateways but expenditure is largely unaddressed.”

This game-changing solution caught the attention of GreenHouse Capital, Africa’s largest fintech investment holding company by portfolio size.

“Sam is the epitome of an entrepreneur. Throughout his career, he’s spotted gaps in the market and turned them into opportunities. PopotePay is no different. He built the Popote simply by trying to solve a challenge he faced in his own business. Through the undeniable quality of the products and value proposition, PopotePay has grown to serve hundreds of businesses throughout Kenya,” says Bunmi Akinyemiju, Partner at GreenHouse Capital. 

The GreenHouse Capital investment in Popote goes beyond capital. 

“They give us access to the knowledge and skills that exist in their ecosystem. Additionally, GreenHouse will introduce PopotePay and our other solutions into the Nigerian market more quickly than we could achieve on our own, especially given their fintech domain expertise and relations with banks that we aim to work with for distribution.”

Wanjohi says because GreenHouse Capital is founded by individuals who are entrepreneurs and Africans themselves, their level of support to entrepreneurs is different from what he has experienced elsewhere.

“They aim to understand and give the entrepreneur adequate opportunity to explain their company and they acknowledge challenges are to be overcome where other investors run off at the hint of adversity. They are solution finders and this culture seems to have permeated into how the organization hires, and so the team that we work with every day is really a joy to engage with,” adds Wanjohi.

Having founded and run a successful business in Kenya for over 12 years, Wanjohi believes that Africa needs home-grown solutions to meet the peculiar challenges of emerging markets, their evolving culture and people. “The ubiquity of mobile money transfers made Kenya an ideal environment in which to develop a solution such as PopotePay. We aim to expand into other markets with a proven and advanced product offering designed to plug into any country’s existing digital payment rails. In many countries, these rails will be provided by the banking sector. ” 

No matter the challenges, Wanjohi is determined to use his vast experience and partnership with GreenHouse Capital to help African businesses take control of their finances.

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