With impressive growth, additions to our staff compliment and product range, and the move into our new, world-class HQ, 2022 has been an exceptional year for Ozow. We even earned the top spot in LinkedIn’s Top Start-ups in 2022.
This year we welcomed an incredible 98 Ozowks onto the rocketship. With the addition of so many new team members, it quickly became clear that we needed more space to progress– so we moved offices.
We created a state-of-the-art facility on the 10th floor of the Portside building. The move gave us a safe space, creating a comfortable environment for us to collaborate, share ideas and perform at a higher standard than ever before. Complete with high-tech, beautiful board rooms, break-off rooms, a kid's play area, and one of the hardest working coffee machines in Cape Town, this strategic and much-needed move created greater capacity for us to scale.
Over the course of the year, and in particular during the IPL, we had the opportunity to partner with some phenomenal South Africans, including J’Something and AB de Villiers. To help spread our message of easy, fast payments we set our celebrities a series of challenges, making them race an Ozow payment. We’re happy to report that Ozow won every time.
We don’t only want to make an impression on consumers, we want to make a real difference. We’re a company driven by the desire to give back, while improving the lives of those less fortunate. That’s why in April we took action to help the community of Langa after they experienced devastating fires.
Then, in May, we launched a bursary programme with the City of Cape Town and Executive Deputy Mayor Eddie Andrews. This programme was aimed at relieving student debt for those studying computer science, mathematics, statistics, data and analytics, and technology. The bursaries were awarded to six top performers from universities and Technikons around Cape Town.
“If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together.” - African proverb
Getting all 120 Ozowks together for the first time ever was a wonderful experience and bolstered collaboration. Our team is spread out across the country, so the retreat offered a way for Ozowks to interact with members who they wouldn’t get to connect with in person. And having so many people with different backgrounds and perspectives on life means that when they get together, magic happens.
Using the time to come up with new ideas, reflect on our previous achievements and investigate what the future holds helps us to innovate and stay on top of current fintech trends. Our retreats help maintain a strong company culture and foster collaboration.
This year we’ve reached greater heights than ever before. On Black Friday we saw extraordinary growth across the board, with our single largest processed transaction amounting to R421,950.00. We also broke our own records along the way, outdoing our 2021 transaction count and processing value.
But Black Friday is only one day of the year. Throughout 2022, Ozow has outperformed all expectations, not just in transactions, but also in how we add value to our merchant partners.
This year we maintained the impeccable level of tech support that our merchants and users have come to expect, and kept our payments seamless and secure through the release of new products and enhancing existing ones. That said, we’re always trying to improve our payment processes, so we made updates to our existing systems, enabling even faster bank-to-bank payments.
According to research, faster payouts directly result in a 45% increase in eCommerce transactions and an 85% reduction in customer support requests. That’s why we launched Ozow Payouts. It allows merchants to pay customers without an originating transaction, removing complications in the payout process.
Staying with product innovation, we also found that 30% of all online orders are returned. That’s why we continued to optimise our Refunds product. With Ozow Refunds merchants can process instant refunds for their customers with a few simple clicks, removing the hassle from the process. This led to some incredible results: Our data showed that users who received a refund via Ozow are likely to spend six times the original amount. To explore the impact of Ozow Refunds, read our blog.
Finally, with our latest product update we enabled even faster bank-to-bank payments. This saw a dramatic decrease in time-to-pay in real-world payments, leading to more completed payments and happier customers.
Our core offering is built around instant EFTs, but as we looked to optimise our platform and further distinguish our products, we needed a new name. So we’re calling it Pay by Bank. This solution describes direct, account-to-account payments made without the procedural hurdles of traditional EFTs. Using open banking principles as a foundation allowed us to make an even faster, more efficient payment platform.
We closed off the year by celebrating the beta release of our Ozow.ME native app on the Apple App Store, Google Play store and Huawei AppGallery. The research and development of Ozow.ME started from the ground up with our team fully immersing themselves in the lives of our consumers at the beginning of 2022. Twenty-five Ozowks spent three days living in local homes working and finding potential use cases for Ozow.ME. We did this in order to demo the product to the people who would be using it, while getting their input on its features and functionality.
Ozow.ME allows users to display a unique QR code to get paid, and send payment request links via SMS, WhatsApp and Facebook messenger. And with the addition of pocket, our digital wallet, consumers can send and receive money instantly, at no cost to them. To experience Ozow.ME yourself, download the app.
Looking back on the past year we've achieved a lot, but we’re nowhere near finished.
The digital divide still exists, and our journey to close this gap and create greater financial inclusion continues. In 2023 we hope to serve more merchants and bring even more of South Africa’s 47 million bank account holders into the digital economy.
If you’re interested in becoming a merchant, or finding out more about our company, click here.