Katlego Maphai of Yoco
“In Africa, small business is big business.”
Yoco is a point-of-sale payment solutions company based in South Africa. Its smartphone app and wireless card readers allow small businesses to accept credit and debit card payments easily and affordably. In this interview, Yoco cofounder and CEO Katlego Maphai discusses the company’s origins, and how he and his colleagues began to identify the market gap they could fill. “You have a lot of consumers with cards, but not enough businesses accepting cards,” he says. At the same time, he adds, “Small businesses are heavily underserved. Nobody’s building products or tools for them.” And thus, a business plan began to take shape.
Maphai clearly identifies with the clients Yoco serves. “We’re an SME, we’re entrepreneurs. Our customers are SMEs, they’re entrepreneurs too. So we’re the same… We’re in this together. We only grow when our customers grow,” he says.
Looking toward the future, Maphai is thinking of how his own SME can grow. Building on the network of entrepreneurs he’s established, he says, “We’ll be able to offer additional services, and we’ll also be able to plug in third parties… anyone who wishes to distribute to smaller businesses can do it through us,” he says.
Yoco and the Accion Frontier Inclusion Fund, managed by Quona Capital, have partnered since 2017.