The 31 Year-Old Entrepreneur Who Is Challenging PayPal In Kenya

Danson Muchemi, 31, is the founder of JamboPay, Kenya’s leading Online Payment Gateway. JamboPay, which was founded in 2009, now has more than 1,500 institutional clients and processes more than $50 million in payments every year. The company has a presence in Kenya, Tanzania and Senegal and is expanding to 4 additional countries before the end of 2015.

I caught up with him recently in Nairobi and we chatted briefly about JamboPay’s model, service offering and future plans.

What’s your personal and professional background?

I am the CEO of JamboPay and a firm believer in deploying technology for the good of humanity. I was born and raised in Nyandarua County in central Kenya. I attended Gikeno Primary School and then proceeded to Nguviu Boys High School before joining Strathmore University for a diploma in Management Information Systems. Subsequently, I successfully pursued a Bsc degree in Telecommunications and Information Technology at Kenyatta University. While at Primary School, the enterprise bug bit me after my parents bought me rabbits, which breed fast and had to sell. At the University the enterprise malady got severe and I found myself starting and running a enterprise at the University. I founded JamboPay at age 25.

What are the origins of JamboPay?

I founded JamboPay in 2009. I attempted to set up an e-commerce shop but could not find a reliable local payment gateway to process payments for the web shop. I joined hands with a friend to set up JamboPay to address the payments gap then. We did not have funds to hire a proper office among other things and so we settled for a Cyber Cafe. At the Cyber Cafe, we leased a single computer for Ksh 4,500 ($50) per month. It was at the Cyber Cafe that we wrote our Company Mission, Vision and our initial business plan. We kept our costs low and as such managed to utilize little financial resources to start. In retrospect, our startup cost was less than $1,000. For 6 months, we operated from the Cyber Cafe. We were just two of us. Today JamboPay employs 105 employees- 68 of them being permanent with the rest on part time contract. JamboPay today serves over 1500 clients.

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