I rarely excited about start ups in Kenya because like many of mine they dont seem to get enough support from industry players and government. However just when you think innovation is dead someone somewhere unleashes a stunning and brilliant idea. This someone is Kenneth Ngetha 22, a 4th year student at the prestigious Strathmore University(i went there too!!!) in Nairobi, who has come up with an online gateway for making payment transfers to Kenya.
The system suitably named TULIPE solves the basic problem which is that in East Africa, (and Africa in general); E-Commerce Payments on the web are not well developed because of a low penetration of banking services (which means credit cards are not sufficient). However, there have been developments in the Mobile Money sphere and it serves the long tail of the unbanked. Tulipe aims to use this Mobile Money & Existing Bank accounts for online payments, as is the case with credit cards.
This brilliant idea is modelled on the US based PAYPAL.com which currently transacts billions of dollars every year in this way. Tulipe still on beta release has caught the eye of Kenyan investors who see in Tulipe a business model and solution that will help reduce the cost of transfering money to and from Kenya. This cost mostly brought about by thefts, delays and official corruption have been a major obstacle to doing business in Kenya.