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Chaperone honoured for financial innovation

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Silence Charumbira

FINANCIAL Technology (FINTECH) company, Chaperone’s payments platform, C-Pay, has been named the Most Innovative Digital Payments Platform 2022 for Southern Africa by the United Kingdom (UK)’s Wealth and Finance International Magazine.

The award is in recognition of the company’s innovation in the provision of business to business (B2B) financial solutions, said managing director, Mohau Mochebelele.

Mr Mochebelele attributed the recognition to the company’s robust customisation of digital solutions for different businesses.

“The thinking is that we have been engaging with different entities locally and internationally and the one question we always used to get was, how are you different from the existing mobile money players and why are we getting the traction we are getting without the brand power?” Mr Mochebelele said.

“We were launching products while also launching the brand, so we were competing with big names that have been imprinted in people’s minds for 20 years plus.”

We take a B2B approach and the gap that we saw in the market is that although most of the businesses were enabled to transact by the existing mobile money players to transact, the solutions were not 100 percent effective. They may be able to move money around, but the solutions do not really fit into the businesses’ processes because making payments is an important function, but you would also want to ensure that the processes are also aligned. Therefore, we are doing a lot of bespoke projects with corporates.

“What we do is that when we sit with a corporate, we do a proper diagnosis of its needs and then specifications will come out of that.”

He said the company’s strategy was hinged on bringing together marginalised ecosystem players on board to ensure increased financial inclusion and digitisation.

In the wake of the rampant cash heists that have been reported countrywide in recent months, the key to solving the problem is educating the public and service providers that there is neither need for cash nor a physical receipt, he said.

“SMSs are just good enough since one can get the transaction serial number or transaction ID (identity). The need for a physical receipt is starting to dwindle.”

Lesole Polilane, Chaperone’s IT and operations manager weighed in saying the government and the Central Bank of Lesotho must play an active role in promoting cashless transactions. This must be done by educating the masses, he said.

“I think the government and the CBL should drive this message and help us to ‘decash’ and to digitise. If you have the influence of the government, it means that everybody will move in one direction. Currently, I don’t think there is enough being done,” Mr Polilane said.

Currently operating in Lesotho, the company is making inroads to set up operations in Botswana and the neighbouring South Africa. This will be its focus for the next three years, Mr Mohau said.

The expansion is also informed by regional and continental trade initiatives that require platforms for B2B transactions across the borders as a commercial solution.

Mr Mohau attributed the win to innovation.

“The question has always been what makes Chaperon different from other service providers. When we were starting out it was very difficult to articulate it but I am sure now if you speak to several organisations that we are working with, they will tell you of the special flavour which earned us the award.