Subscribe on Apple Podcasts | Subscribe on Spotify

Ozow Co-founder & Head of R&D, Mitchan Adams, joins Andile Masuku and guest co-host & Lettuce Co-founder Simon Dingle for this beefy flagship episode to discuss the current state-of-play in South Africa's digital payments processing scene.

Mitch reveals why Ozow is actively recruiting and onboarding new hires right now and explains why the startup is seeing a sharp spike in revenue even as the global COVID-19 crisis continues to unfold.

Listen in for actionable insight about South Africa's competitive financial services landscape and learn why both Mitch and Simon hope that the country and some of its neighbours in the region will adopt open banking regulation a la Europe's PSD2 dispensation sooner rather than later.

Mitch is a software engineer who, prior to co-founding Ozow (formerly i-Pay) in 2014, worked at a stockbroking firm— developing and maintaining software which interfaced with Johannesburg Stock Exchange's futures, stocks and bond markets. He also served a stint at Setcom, where his knack for online and card-based payment streams properly took root.

To skip all the introductory niceties, head straight to [12:52].

Questions discussed in this episode include:

1) How is Ozow coping with the mandatory national COVID-19 shutdown ordered by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa? [12:52]

2) How might payments processors like Ozow position for long-term success in what is a highly-competitive and increasingly-commoditised digital payments landscape? [23:47]

3) Can open banking-led fintech innovation offer the kind of platform integrity, financial inclusion and system efficiency decentralised cryptocurrency proponents insist blockchain-based platforms like Bitcoin are best positioned to deliver on? [30:57]

4) Is the obsession with building and maintaining walled gardens a prevalent dynamic within the South African banking industry? [44:30]

5) How are mobile telcos shaping fintech innovation in South Africa? [47:28]

6) What unique challenges and opportunities are presented by open banking regulatory frameworks? [53:04]

7) Is fintech startup success possible in South Africa without subscribing to VC-backed hyper-scale, hyper-growth strategy? [1:08:44]

8) In what ways do Mitch and Simon anticipate the world will never be the same again once we recover from COVID-19 crisis? [1:21:05]

Resources referenced in this episode:

Payment services
The European Commission is working to create an efficient and integrated market for payment services in the EU.
Coronavirus Stimulus Offered By House Financial Services Committee Creates New Digital Dollar
As the markets continue to drop and the U. S. looks to Congress for agreement on a massive stimulus package to save the economy from impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, the newest offer by House Democrats includes a very forward-looking kind of stimulus: the creation of a ‘digital dollar’

Image credit: Ruxipen