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Fintech Ukheshe launches digital payments innovation lab

Africa , 25 May 2023
Jason Penton, Ukheshe co-founder and head of Ukheshe Labs.
Jason Penton, Ukheshe co-founder and head of Ukheshe Labs.

Fintech Ukheshe has launched a new innovation hub, Ukheshe Labs, to focus on research and development in the digital payments market.

Ukheshe Labs will spearhead product development and several other projects. One such project is looking at ways to give legacy tech more longevity.

This, the company says, involves moving away from data centres and into the cloud, providing more efficient cost of operations, and solving any security and compliance challenges.

The company says, besides product development, there are several benefits to creating such an innovation hub within a company, for example becoming an expertise centre that other departments can turn to.

“If any of the other business units face a challenge, whether a cost, technology or compliance challenge, they can refer that to Labs to solve,” says Jason Penton, Ukheshe co-founder and head of Ukheshe Labs.

He continues: “As a company grows, there is often a very structured process for business as usual. When that happens, it’s easy to become stuck in mundane processes, leaving product development by the wayside.

“The idea behind Ukheshe Labs is to prevent this by bringing together highly skilled individuals, people who can think outside the box, to focus on innovation as the company grows.”

Penton says the lab can also tackle issues such as technology consolidation across the group. “Any company starts facing the problem of technology silos as it grows including duplication of technology, processes and operations across departments. Labs will correct and minimise these and related challenges by encouraging open communication and innovation across all Ukheshe business units, and then leveraging technologies, infrastructure, and processes.

“Further to that, Ukheshe is very focused on its growth strategy and trajectory at the moment, which could involve mergers and acquisitions in the future. Should this be the case, Labs would then aim its focus on streamlining technology duplication over the short, medium and long term.”

Another challenge that he believes the lab can tackle is complying with certain regulations when technologies eventually reach their end-of-life phase.

“At Ukheshe, we value security and compliance. One of our business strategies is to be cloud native and not operate on physical hardware, but this isn’t always possible, given certain compliance requirements.

“To tackle a challenge like this, Ukheshe Labs would define the problem, brainstorm the issue, and evaluate the feasibility of each option. After creating a shortlist of potential solutions, each would be tested and monitored before implementing the best solution.”

Penton believes Ukheshe Labs will help the company keep its vision and culture of innovation top of mind and not lose sight of its core values as it grows.

“We truly believe that innovation is the way to not only help us stay ahead of the curve, but to ensure that our main value of broadening financial inclusion is realised.”

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