The Pezesha team have just returned from a week in Sri Lanka after being invited to attend a bootcamp for innovative start ups looking to promote financial inclusion in developing markets.

The organisers were the DFS Lab, an organisation funded by the Gates Foundation to support and accelerate growth in companies promoting financial inclusion through digital means.

Pezesha was one of the seven who made it through the hundreds of applications, and joined start-ups from Ghana, India and the US.

The DFS Lab Bootcamp in Sri Lanka

Sprint methodology

Throughout the week we were undertaking a Sprint.

This is a five day process to identify and quickly test an idea that you have about how to improve your business.

We were had the help of the DFS team, and experts flown in from across the globe to assist in the process.

Over the week we identified our area of focus, brainstormed ideas, and tested our versions of these ideas with our customers. The feedback we got was invaluable, and guides us in how to Pezesha even better for them.

Going through the tasks for the day

The other six companies were great, working on a variety of hard problems in innovative ways. This ranged from from seed insurance for farmers, price comparison for SMEs and chatbots for banks.

Seeing the impactful results they were getting was incredibly inspirational.

Discussing feedback from our customer interviews

What we worked on

For Pezesha, we began by clarifying our core vision:

“Pezesha exists to give choice, inclusion and affordability to low-income borrowers in Africa to bring fairness, freedom, equality and hope”

Pezesha is a two-sided marketplace and for this sprint we decided to improve the way that lenders can fund our low-income borrowers.

We drew out how they currently interact with Pezesha, identified ways to improve it, and then began designing ways to test out ideas

Creating a business which works for customers is baked into our ethos, and so the idea of asking customers how we can make a service for them which they would love wasn’t too foreign.

We held interviews with our customers over Skype and took down feedback to understand the common themes, and areas with which we could make the most progress.

If you’re interested in lending money with Pezesha, and seeing what we come up with, then you can download the Pezesha app here 😉

By the end of the week we presented to the rest of the group what we had learnt and headed back to Nairobi with a solid plan to put our learnings into action.

Information on DFS Lab

We are incredibly grateful to DFS Lab for giving us the opportunity to work with them in growing Pezesha.

We’re pleased to say that we progressed to the next round of the funding application and so we hope to continue the relationship going forward.

If you, or someone you know, is a start up looking to improve the lives of others through increasing financial inclusion, then we’d thoroughly recommend you putting forward an application. All the details can be found here.