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Failing to Lead

An excerpt from Failing To Win: Hard-Earned Lessons from a Purpose-Driven Startup

From 2009 to 2019, Zoona was an award-winning pioneer in Africa’s fledgling fintech ecosystem. Fueled by a vision of 'A Cashless Africa,' the company grew from scratch to process $2.5 billion in money transfers and remittances for an active base of 2 million underserved consumers in Zambia and Malawi through their innovative network of cash-in cash-out micro-franchise agents.

The following is an extract from my recently published book, Failing To Win: Hard-Earned Lessons from a Purpose-Driven Startup. The book starts with two chapters of essential information about the company’s origin story, before analyzing their eight biggest failures and what I learned from them.

As 2018 broke, Zoona was the dominant market leader in Zambia, and, for years, had been well out in front of two deep-pocketed, multinational mobile network operators (MNOs) that had launched competitive mobile money products: Airtel Money and MTN Money. Knowing Zoona’s position was under threat, I and my leadership team were busy preparing for the roll-out of a digital financial service offering branded as “Zoona Plus,” when the MNOs stepped up their attack.—Mike Quinn

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