The inaugural offering from fintech company Djamo in the Ivory Coast was a digital payment card powered by Visa, but it has now added other financial services to position itself as a one-stop shop for clients’ personal finances.
Having expertise and skills in related fields, Hassan Bourgi and Régis Bamba began considering Djamo in 2020. Although they initially had a narrow emphasis, they have since widened it.
Salary accounts, automated expenditure categorization that provides analytical information about budgeting, and an automated saving product that provides insight into clients’ financial goals are some of the startup’s other products.
Bourgi stated that these are “deeply disruptive” because they are “unprecedentedly cheap among the existing solutions” and provide real value to our consumers in terms of better money management.
The Djamo software also enables interoperability between banks and mobile money, enabling its Ivory Coast customers to transfer funds back and forth from their bank accounts to their mobile money wallets. Since then, it has made use of this quality to develop a broad range of financial services.
We are starting to progressively roll out other personal finance products to enable those consumers expand their savings and start investing in local mutual funds, according to Bourgi. “With 750,000 accounts created across Ivory Coast, we are becoming top of mind for those customers when it comes to banking,” he said.
“We are competing with outdated and expensive financial services offered by incumbent banks that do not offer a seamless, digital, affordable, and convenient user experience. We are providing financial services for the underbanked and unbanked population of French-speaking markets, where less than 25% of adults have bank accounts.
According to Bourgi, the objective is not necessary to digitize currency, since mobile money already does a good job of that, but rather to work on the personal finance side, where clients are still incredibly underserved digitally.
“Djamo seeks to become the one-stop personal finance partner for its customers,” he stated.
The startup entered Y Combinator in 2021, becoming the first Ivory Coast-based business to do so. Y Combinator is a well-known incubator in Silicon Valley.
“In 2022, we have raised US$14 million in funding from the famed accelerator, as well as from other amongst the best funds including Enza Capital, Oikocredit and Partech Africa,” said Bourgi.
Uptake has been “exponential”.
“In less than three years, we have become Ivory Coast’s leading card issuer, well in front of major banks. Beside that the intensity of usage is growing month after month as we continue adding new services around payments and the cards. One thing that we are very proud of is that the majority of our new users had never had a payment card before Djamo as this product is difficult to access for the underbanked,” Bourgi said.
The WAEMU region is currently adding additional markets to Djamo’s reach.
When it comes to market sequencing, “we’re taking an intelligent approach. Our ambition is to cover the major countries of the WAEMU zone where the financial regulation is unified and expand to other French-speaking African countries in the future that are interesting in terms of size or market stage, like the DRC and Cameroon,” said Bourgi.
The primary revenue sources for Djamo’s business model include interchange, floating, pay out, and subscription fees.
“As we continue to add features, people find more and more value in our product, as evidenced by the high number of paying members we have. Over the past twelve months, all of this has allowed us to have double-digit monthly revenue increase, according to Bourgi.