This is the origin and development of how Waya started as a remittance platform and transitioned to a Neobank.
The story of Waya began with a vision to revolutionize the way people send and receive money, especially in underserved communities across the United States.
Dr. David Wachira and Hempstone Maroria, the founders of Waya, recognized the urgent need for a secure and efficient remittance platform that could bridge the gap between traditional banking systems and the rapidly growing digital landscape.
This vision became the driving force behind the development of Waya.
In 2019, Waya was born out of a shared vision and determination to address the challenges individuals face when it came to sending money back home.
Dr. David Wachira, the CEO and co-founder of Waya, along with his co-founder Hempstone, recognized the need for a better solution to this problem.
“Waya started in 2019 when my co-founder Hempstone and I met. Then we were trying to solve the issue of sending money back home. I was undergoing specific challenges when it came to sending money.
“I was investing in some property in Kenya and I was finding it very difficult to send money back home. I was losing money when I gave it to friends in order to deliver for these payments and I thought surely there has to be a better way,” said Dr Wachira.
Coming from Kenya where they experienced the convenience of MPesa and mobile money, the duo felt the need to share the convenience of using mobile money and digital wallets with the rest of the world, especially unbanked immigrants in the US who struggle to access banking services.
Initially, Waya’s primary focus was to develop a remittance platform enabling users to easily transfer money across borders.
Traditional remittance methods often came with barriers and inefficiencies such as high fees, long processing times, and limited accessibility.
Waya aimed to eliminate these challenges by leveraging technology and innovation. The goal was to provide a secure, cost-effective, and convenient solution for international money transfers.
As Waya progressed in its research and development phase, the founders recognized the changing market landscape and the increasing demand for comprehensive digital banking services.
They realized that to empower individuals truly, Waya needed to offer a broader range of financial solutions beyond remittances. This realization marked the beginning of Waya’s transition from a remittance platform to a holistic digital banking service.
“We went and asked other people like hey, how do you send money? They all mentioned the same problem, and we wondered why someone hasn’t done something about this. We decided to grab the bull by the horns and looked at ways to improve this.
“So we spent a good number of time doing research trying to find where the pinch points were and one thing that really stood out was the fact that of all remittance companies, there were not many that were focused on us, originated from us, or owned by us,” Dr. Wachira said.
Following the diversification in service delivery, the company changed its name from Wayapay to Waya.
To meet the evolving needs of its users, Waya embraced cutting-edge technology.
The platform incorporated robust security measures, streamlined user interfaces, and innovative features to provide a seamless banking experience.
By leveraging advancements in mobile technology, Waya made banking services more accessible, allowing users to perform transactions anytime, anywhere.
Most people in the diaspora remit about 5% to 10% of their income back home. Still, with an expanded scope of providing digital banking services, immigrants can integrate Waya into their everyday use and become part of their lifestyle.
Read more about Waya here.