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South Africa FinTech SmartWage wins VivaTech Future of Work Africa Startup challenge

SmartWage will represent Africa in 2021 at the Viva Tech in Paris


SmartWage has won the Future of Work Africa challenge, earning a spot to represent the continent at the VivaTech in Paris 2021. The South African fintech startup leverages technology to empower its users in the African market.

SmartWage partners with companies to give their employees instant access to their earned salaries and wages. Founded in February 2019, the company was co-founded by Simon Ellis, Alex Platt, and Nick Platt. Earlier this year, we covered the $347,603 investment raised by the company, in a raise led by Chris Lister-James at FiTech Ventures.

SmartWage was earlier nominated as one of 2020’s top influential start-ups in Africa alongside Flutterwave from Nigeria, Twiga Foods from Kenya, and Pineapple from South Africa. Many low-income workers across South Africa are often forced to take out high-interest loans at ‘mashonisas‘ especially when living paycheck to paycheck. SmartWage offers a smarter, safer, and affordable alternative to unsecured debt.

The situation has been dire this year with official unemployment numbers in South Africa peaking at  34.9% in the second quarter after 3 million people lost their jobs receiving no form of compensation in the process, SmartWage is leveraging its innovative approach in the workspace that helps workers avoid the payday poverty cycle. Unsecured credit is the only way most employees make it by, a problem that’s only magnified by the current economic crisis. It is quite unfair if they have to incur 50% interest rates on credit when they have earned wages sitting in their employer’s bank account.

Viva Tech

Viva Tech is Europe’s top tech and startup event. This year’s edition was canceled due to the global pandemic. According to organizers, they are planning a strong comeback in 2021 from June 17th to 19. The fifth edition will be a hybrid event that combines both online and in-person augmented experience.


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