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Building Purpose-Driven Fintech Ventures in Africa



Mike is the co-founder and former CEO of Zoona, one of Africa's earliest fintech companies.  

During his 10-year stint at the company that started with the first transaction in 2009, Zoona processed $2.5 billion of transactions, generated $26 million in income for 3,000 micro-entrepreneurs and their employees across Zambia and Malawi, and raised over $30 million in investment.


In 2009, Canadian entrepreneur Mike Quinn packed his backpack and moved to Lusaka, Zambia on a mission to find entrepreneurs building scalable, high-impact businesses. There, he stumbled across two Zambian-born, South African brothers who had founded a business to help unbanked smallholder farmers receive mobile payments in a market where cash was king. After convincing his retired parents in Canada to mortgage their house and lend him $100,000, Mike joined as a co-founder of Zoona and became CEO for nine of the next ten years.


With his partners, he led the company to build a network of more than 3,000 entrepreneur agents across Zambia and Malawi that enabled millions of consumers to send and receive $2.5 billion in money transfers and remittances. Zoona raised over $35 million of venture investment and operated on the leading edge of Africa's emerging fintech ecosystem.

Mike’s remarkable story gives a rare and honest glimpse inside the blackbox of a pioneering start-up from the lens of a purpose-driven entrepreneur who went "all in." Zoona faced tremendous adversity every step of the way, such as currency crises, investment round collapses, ruthless pushback from the major mobile network operators, and a continuous internal struggle to discover and execute a growth strategy that matched the company's billion dollar ambition. It was by failing to win that Mike learned what entrepreneurship is all about, and what motivated him to double down and try again. 



Mike writes and speaks to advance purpose-driven entrepreneurship.

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NextBillion - 2020.05.13

Leading a startup is hard.

Leading a purpose-driven startup in the midst of a pandemic for many entrepreneurs is nearly impossible.




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©2021 by Mike Quinn


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