Amazon EC2 Founder Joins Board Of South African Fintech Startup

By Peter Pedroncelli Published: July 6, 2017, 10:40 am
South African Startup - Chris Pinkham has been appointed to the board of JUMO as an independent director. Photo - JUMOChris Pinkham has been appointed to the board of JUMO as an independent director. Photo - JUMO

South African fintech startup JUMO has announced the appointment of Amazon EC2 founder Chris Pinkham as an active independent director of the company.

Cape Town University-educated Pinkham begins work for the South African company with immediate effect, having left his role as vice president of Engineering at Twitter in February this year, and will be working with JUMO’s leadership team on technical and product strategy.

“Chris is an Internet and cloud pioneer,” said Andrew Watkins-Ball, founder and CEO of JUMO, according to a press release.

“We are building large scale, high impact technology teams and Chris brings an awesome combination of creativity and scars to the table.”

JUMO, the financial services platform for emerging markets, analyzes user data collected from mobile phones and networks to predict whether a person is able to repay a loan, offering tailored financial products based on that analysis.

Since its inception in 2015 the company has disbursed 17 million loans ranging from as little as two dollars up to $50,000, according to VentureBurn.

South African fintech startup chosen by Google

Operating in six African countries, with a particularly significant presence in Tanzania, Kenya and Zambia, JUMO was the first South African startup to be selected by Google for its Launchpad accelerator, reports ITNewsAfrica.

As a result a number of leaders within the company will benefit from a two-week boot camp at Google’s headquarters in California between July 17 and 28, with six months ongoing support and mentorship, as well as $50,000 in funding coming their way.

Pinkham will not make the trip to California, but the company will be represented by chief executive officer Watkins-Ball along with four senior management staff members.

Pinkham has succeeded within various tech roles during his 30-year career, having co-founded South Africa’s first ISP, Internet Africa, in 1993, before running global network and systems engineering as vice president of Engineering at Amazon, creating EC2 – the popular elastic cloud computing service.

In 2008, he co-founded Nimbula, a high-profile infrastructure software startup which was acquired by Oracle in 2013. Thereafter, he led Oracle’s development team responsible for public cloud services before joining Twitter in February 2015.

Reacting to his appointment, Pinkham expressed excitement to be part of the leadership team at JUMO.

“JUMO is a special company on an important mission to bring high quality and affordable financial services to underserved communities. I’m excited and looking forward to assisting in whatever way I can,” said Pinkham, according to the press release.

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