Ndichus count losses after viral video
Kenyan techies Eddie Ndichu and his twin brother Paul Ndichu are in the eye of a storm after a key investor of their nascent fintech company pulled out over a viral video.
Wapi Pay, the Nairobi-based fintech, was co-founded by the two brothers in 2019 and is headquartered in Singapore with offices also in Tianjin, China.
It is still not clear how much investment Kepple Africa Ventures has in the firm having been one of its angel investors since its founding.
On Tuesday, the Japanese venture capital firm announced that it would “relinquish all the rights of our investment stake” in the twins’ Kenyan fintech startup, Wapi Pay.
“We will relinquish all the rights of our investment stake in Wapi Pay,” General Partner Ryosuke Yamawaki said in a tweet.
In light of the alleged assault on women by the founders of our portfolio company Wapi Pay, we Kepple Africa Ventures hereby announce that we have zero tolerance on such conduct and announce that we will relinquish all the rights of our investment stake in Wapi Pay.
— Ryosuke Yamawaki (@ryamawaki) October 18, 2021
The firm has so far invested in 96 start-ups across 11 countries in Africa.
Yamawaki is currently the General Partner in Kepple Africa Ventures based in Nairobi according to the company’s website.
With the last funding round, Wapi Pay said it targeted the remittance market between Africa and Asia.
All was going well for the twins until they were accused of being at the centre of an altercation at the Mombasa Road hotel.
The brothers are accused of assaulting a woman and of vandalising the side mirror of a vehicle during the drama.
But the brothers, in a statement released Tuesday, distanced themselves from assault claims, saying the video does not reflect a true account of the events that took place over the weekend.
The brothers allege that they were breaking up a fight.
“To be clear, Paul and Eddie got involved in an attempt to neutralise a confrontation between two women and to defend themselves from certain aggressors,” Wapi Pay said in the statement.
The two co-founders of Wapi Pay have since “stepped aside” to pave way for investigations.
Calls for their arrest are led by among others media and legal practitioners, who say it will be the only statement against gender-based violence, which has been on a steady rise in the country.
The victims according to the police reported the matter on Sunday evening at Akila police station in South C.
Police say the matter is under investigation.
They promised to take action as soon as the complainant return their P3 form. The matter was reported on October 17 at 5 pm. It is recorded as OB/02/17/10/2021.
Meanwhile, Ole Sereni Hotel on Tuesday broke their silence following the incident that took place at their establishment over the weekend.
According to a statement, Ole Sereni Hotel CEO Ghulam Samdani said they are aware of the incident.
However, he termed it as an isolated case and pointed out that it does not reflect the character and operations of the hotel.
“We are aware that there are some disturbing pictures and videos circulating online of an incident that occurred at the lobby of Emara Ole-Sereni hotel and would like to state the following. Please note that we do not accept nor condone any such behaviour as we have an obligation to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for all our guests,” Mr Samdani said.
“While there was an incident, it is isolated and out of character for our operations. The hotel’s security intervened immediately to prevent further violence and the manager on duty promptly contacted the police, who took control of the matter. We are aware that no arrests were made and as such we have no further comment at this stage,” he added.
In another blow to the brothers, the Association of Fintechs in Kenya announced that Eddie Ndichu has stepped down as a member of the association’s board with immediate effect.
In a letter signed by the Chairperson of the Association Ali Hussein and Secretary Munyi Nthigah, the fintechs board is said to have convened a special meeting Tuesday upon which Eddie stepped down as a board member pending formal investigations.
“The Board takes this opportunity to state that it regrets the current circumstances and does not in any way condone gender based violence or violence of any kind,” Read a section of the statement.