12 startups recently joined the North American Google for Startups Accelerator: Black Founders class of 2023. Among this group is Kingsley Madu, founder and CEO of Hamilton-based startup, Expedier, a Black-led banking platform offering financial solutions to underbanked BIPOC communities.
When emigrating to Canada, Madu was faced with adversity from the onset, challenged with lack of access to financial services, he was unable to apply for a credit card or rent a home. After experiencing these hardships, he began building the first BIPOC community-focused global banking solution to offer support to the millions of immigrants who come to Canada looking for a new life.
Madu explained to me,” When I landed in Canada, I could not get a [taxi] (taxi is used, here, in square brackets as the interview answers say ‘ride hailing’ and I think that means a taxi) because the available services required a credit card, which I did not have. I could not rent a car for the same reason. Every landlord required a minimum of 6-months credit history so I could not rent a house and the banks required a home address to open an account for me. I was essentially stranded!”
Motivated, Madu stated, “Using technology, I was able to build a digital banking solution to address these difficulties, one at a time.”
“There are more than 200 Financial institutes (Banks) in Canada, many of which are licensed to serve minority groups,” shared Madu. “On the other hand, 18% of Canadians (majorly BIPOC) are underserved and underbanked. Expedier, is changing all that by building the First Black-Led, BIPOC facing Digital Financial Institution in Canada.”
“At Expedier,, we offer tailored banking services, intentionally built to address the unique pain-points of these underserved and underbanked demographic,” stated Madu. “For example, we offer global multi-currency accounts, smart cards without FX fees, Mortgages, Tax services and rent reporting for credit building – all from within the Expedier mobile app.”
I asked how Madu built and scaled his business to which he responded, “My team and I have leveraged the best technology development principles, such as lean thinking, agile mindset, etc.”
“We built our apps from scratch, in-house, to be intuitive, and supported with an animated walkthrough. Of course, we chose cloud hosting for greater scalability,” Madu added.
“With product-led marketing coupled with other forms of digital marketing, we have scaled Expedier, from a 2-man team to 25, and thousands of users.”
Google’s Black Founders Program
Google launched the Google for Startups Accelerator: Black Founders program in 2020 to help Black-owned startups in the U.S. and Canada prepare for the next phase of their growth journey.
The accelerator program is designed to bring the best of Google’s programs, products, people and technology to Black founder communities across North America. In addition to mentorship and technical project support, the accelerator also includes deep dives and workshops focused on product design, customer acquisition and leadership development for founders.
What is Madu most looking forward to? “In summary, being accelerated by Google,” answered Madu. “I am hoping to leverage the Google resources, talent, AI & ML to further scale Expedier.”