The embattled co-founders of Kenya-based fintech startup Wapi Pay – Paul and Eddie Ndichu – have come out to defend themselves against allegations of gender based violence (GBV) following the release of a video clip that has been circulating online for the last 2 days.
In the video clip, which is less than 1 minute in length, one of the Ndichu brothers can be seen outside Ole Sereni Hotel trying to yank off the left-hand side mirror of a dark parked vehicle before walking (with a slight stagger) back in to the hotel’s lobby where he joins an ongoing scuffle involving two ladies and a man.
(TOP: Wapi Pay co-founders, Paul and Eddie Ndichu).
Following the online backlash arising from the incident, the twins – who both co-founded and own Wapi Pay – have now come out to engage in damage control to protect their own personal reputations and image as well as that of the young fintech brand.
In the statement, issued this morning via the firm’s Twitter handle, the brothers state that the story is “distasteful and troubling”, nothing that any behaviour involving violence against women doesn’t reflect their values. Specifically, and more curiously, the statement goes on to add that the video being shared on social media “does not depict the true events that transpired that night.” The statement further claims that Paul and Eddie got involved to “neutralise a confrontation” and to “defend themselves from certain aggressors.”
You can read the whole statement below:
Just before the release of the statement some minutes after 8am today, one of the major investors in the firm, Kepple Africa Ventures (which participated in the firm’s latest $2.2 million or Kshs 220 million funding round) announced via Twitter that it would relinquish all the rights to its investment stake in Wapi Pay.
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
Before getting itself in the current scandal, Wapi Pay, founded less than 5 years ago, had become a major success story in terms of its fund raising efforts and luck in the country’s and even region’s startup and fintech space.
In early August, the fintech which is based in Singapore and headquartered in Kenya, raised $2.2 million in pre-seed funding to expand its global payments and remittances services between Africa and Asia. The investors in the round included EchoVC and China-based global fund MSA Capital, who have invested in domestic Asian firms such as Meituan and NIO, and international unicorns such as Nubank and Klarna. Additional investors include Kepple Africa Ventures. Wapi Pay’s existing investors are Future Hub, Gobi Ventures and Transsion Holding.