Saturday, December 28, 2013

2013: Zoona’s Breakout Year!

One year ago, I wrote a blog about how 2013 was going to be Zoona’s breakout year. We had spent most of 2012 securing our financing, getting the right people in the right seats on the Zoona bus, and focusing on a few key goals to put us on a path to success.

And what a breakout year it was!

To highlight but a few of our achievements in 2013:

  • We processed our 1 millionth Zoona money transfer since we launched in April 2009
  • Our agents and distributors processed 2.2 million cash in and out transactions valued at over $142 million
  • We injected over $500k in working capital to micro & small enterprises
  • We paid out over $1.4 million in commissions to our network of 200+ Zoona agents
  • We became cash flow positive!!!
  • We closed our first straight debt facility
  • We launched a partnership with Airtel Money in Zambia and integrated with their payment platform
  • We deepened our partnership with Zambian Breweries and are now processing a significant share of their payments
  • We released a new website, 
  • We appointed Lelemba Phiri as our Managing Director in Zambia as a strong signal that our Zambian entity can now stand on its own two feet

These are considerable achievements that would not have been possible without tremendous effort from every member of the Zoona family: our customers, employees, board members, investors, partners, and colleagues.

However, despite this progress we have much more work to do to achieve our vision of a world of Cashless Growing Businesses…everywhere! I am reminded of my favorite quote from the late, great Nelson Mandela:
“After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”

I see three hills on the horizon for Zoona in 2014. First, we have much work to do in Zambia to fully integrate Airtel Money into our agent service offering.  We want to activate 1 million Airtel Money mobile wallet users, and provide a guaranteed “cash in / out” service to these customers. This will involve scaling up our agent network significantly to meet the anticipated demand.

Second, we want to further scale our payment and working capital services to Zambian Breweries’ cross-country network of beverage distributors and the 25,000 small retailers below them. Our vision is to create a completely cashless distribution channel in Zambia as a proof of concept that we can scale to other value chains elsewhere.

Third, we are now looking beyond Zambia and a key priority for 2014 will be to test our model in new markets. Our dream has always been to build a pan-African business, and it is time to make this a reality.

As much as I am looking forward to a break after an exhausting year, I am more excited than ever to get back to work in January. The Zoona story is just getting started, and 2014 is going to be a big test to see if we can elevate our business to the next level.

Thanks to everyone for your continued support and I wish you all the happiest of holidays.


Mike Quinn

Group CEO
, Zoona
Follow me on Twitter at @ZoonaMike