Digital empowerment company Curve Group has announced the acquisition of Stock Shop, which provides the financial services industry with apps, websites and other digital tools to empower and educate, as well as to improve the overall customer experience.
“Stock Shop is one of South Africa’s premier, self-built fintech brands, with a highly-experienced team, and this acquisition enables us to assist other fintech organisations to improve the quality of service they provide,” says Curve Group CEO Fred Baumhardt.
“The acquisition gives us access to a variety of technologies built by Stock Shop, including Know Your Customer (KYC) aggregation and e-learning. We are able to provide these to several of our customers to start making use of them immediately.”
Baumhardt points to the recent showcase of the Electronic Fare Collection System (e-ticket) for minibus taxi commuters in Gauteng, as an example. “This initiative will take the KYC and gamified learning technology Stock Shop has developed to 22 million people across the country.”
In addition, Annabel Dallamore, the founder and CEO of Stock Shop, will join Curve Group as the CEO of Curve Systems, the evolution business unit of the Group, which assists several fintech companies to grow through funding and management assistance.
Know your customer
Stock Shop’s KYC aggregator and digital onboarding system can be integrated into Curve Group’s banking engine, reducing the time it takes to onboard a client from days to minutes.
Know Your Customer (KYC) is the process through which a business verifies the identity of its customers in order to comply with banking regulations – in South Africa’s case, the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA).
“Our aggregation system plugs into all third parties that perform FICA or KYC verification checks, meaning that service providers are not locked into one option for verification solutions, helping them reduce costs and risk,” says Dallamore. “We are further expanding the KYC aggregation ecosystem so that it can be used in emerging markets across the continent, helping improve a currently onerous process.
“We are excited to join Curve Group and share its vision of connecting people to opportunity. Through this deal, we will be able to accelerate financial inclusion, provide banking services to more people across the continent, and bring about a positive change using technology.”
Key to driving financial inclusion among the unbanked is education and awareness, and Stock Shop’s online gamified learning academies provide a flexible platform through which fintech companies can not only engage with customers, but also train staff and salespeople.
Stock Shop’s consulting arm provides fintech trend mapping services to leading financial services institutions in South Africa and globally, and stands to benefit from access to a broader customer base, while it also assists with user experience, research and system design from bots, conversational user interfaces, wealth management tools, robo-advisors, full content creation services, and more.
“There is a good cultural fit between the two companies, as both are focused on using technology to enable access to banking for the majority of the population, who currently cannot afford these services,” adds Baumhardt.