Teddy Ogallo, 31



Teddy built an intelligence engine that has borne the first Artificial Intelligence (AI)–powered WhatsApp banking solution in Africa.

The techie founded WayaWaya in 2016, a platform that enables access to cost-effective and secure banking, payments and transfer services through social apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Telegram and Voice to anyone across the globe.

Through partnerships, the company offers services to individuals, banks, telcos and global firms such as InfoBip, Interswitch and Myriad Group.

The local firm has subsidiaries in the US, South Africa and Uganda and also provides services to people and businesses in East Africa, Nigeria, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

“I want to change how people transact and create a globally accessible financial service and send money directly anywhere across the globe,” he says of his ambitions.

By leveraging on WhatsApp and Facebook, the technology he developed uses artificial intelligence that allows one to make commands by just talking for instance “send money to person X” or “notify me when I spend over Sh10,000 today.”

Teddy who also doubles up as chief technology officer at WayaWaya says his firm has signed up several banks, microfinance companies and telecom companies in East Africa, Southern Africa and Nigeria. “We also have another WhatsApp banking project in pipeline,” he adds.

WayaWaya has been recognised as the top financial technology companies in Africa from VISA as well as the most promising startup in Africa from MELTWATER School of Entrepreneurship-Ghana. It also reached the finals of the Startup World Cup 2019.

“Young people should not be focused on getting jobs from already established companies doing things the same way they were done in the past. Instead, they should start by looking out for real problems then find practical solutions based on technology,” he advises the youth.

“That way, we will have more patent holders, translating to wealth for ourselves and growth in the economy.”

“It was challenging convincing people to give a chance to an enterprise that aimed to change the old way of doing things not just in Kenya but globally. I had to partner with President of MasterCard to push the enterprise,” he says.

–Elizabeth Kivuva