Refilwe Matlapeng is the founder of Vimosure, a fintech company providing disruptive solutions to the African insurance industry.
Her mission is to accelerate the advent of software technologies, artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) on a continent where the majority of people remain unbanked and under qualified for access to financial services.
The inspiration for Vimsosure first struck Refilwe during a routine visit to the bank to make a deposit. She recalls standing in a long queue to make a small payment and began wondering if there was a better way to transact. She says although she had spent many hours waiting in bank queues, that incident made her question the entire financial services industry.
She came to the conclusion that if she could connect with her friends overseas with just a few clicks on Facebook, then surely she should be able to make a payment locally within a matter of seconds.
That was the day she built her first insurance mobile app which was aimed at helping people submit their KYC forms, pay insurance premiums, and review and manage their policies.
Operating from the small city of Gaborone, Botswana, Vimosure is rapidly penetrating the African market. Vimosure takes advantage of the fourth industrial revolution, leveraging cutting-edge technologies in AI and IoT, and striving for the financial inclusion of 10 million consumers by 2025. She is humbled by the trust that her client base puts in her and she is inspired to improve people’s lives by serving them with her skills and experience.
Refilwe has had to overcome many challenges, from rejection to being exploited. She says that these setbacks affected her business, but also greatly impacted her self-esteem as she began to question her abilities.
She describes entrepreneurship as a lonely road but learned about the importance of building a support network from her role model, Bill Gates, who has enjoyed lifelong friendships with renowned economist Warren Buffet and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.
She is optimistic about the future of Africa. She wants young people to follow the example set by liberation movements of the 1960s and aspire to be pan-Africanists of the 21st century who unite around a collective pan-African vision. As Africa’s greatest assets, young people have the responsibility to come up with disruptive solutions that drive transformation on the continent.
Refilwe is committed to levelling the playing field by equipping the next generation of Africans with the necessary tools and knowledge they need to build a brighter future. Looking ahead, she would like to play an active role in empowering other young people, especially women, to participate in innovation and provide solutions to SADC’s existing problems.
She is passionate about the growth of tech and innovation in Africa and has plans to contribute to the ongoing improvement of Africa’s fragmented market. In the next five years, she would like to see the financial inclusion of 10 million unbanked and marginalised people across Africa.
Refilwe is excited to be named among the 2019 TYI 100 as the platform gives her the opportunity to tell her story of an unconventional idea challenging the status quo.