The Ndichu twins have been in the headlines this week not because of innovation or another multi-million dollar funding round, but instead as the new faces of Gender Based V******e (GBV).
It has been a thunderous fall from grace for Eddie and Paul who, up until a video surfaced showing them in an altercation with women at a city hotel, were primarily known for their exploits in finance and technology. Both Eddie and Paul Ndichu held senior roles in some of the region’s biggest companies before they co-founded their Africa-Asia payments start-up Wapi Pay in 2019.
As recently as August, Wapi Pay which has offices in Kenya, Singapore and China was announcing a Ksh224 million funding round to support its growth. Now, one of its investors (Kepple Africa Ventures) has pulled out and Eddie Ndichu has stepped aside both as Wapi Pay CEO and as a board member of the Association of Fintechs in Kenya (AFIK).
Paul Ndichu has also stepped down as Executive Director of Wapi Pay following the uproar.
The twins allegedly assaulted two women in a confrontation at Ole Sereni Hotel. In a viral video showing part of the altercation, one of the brothers was seen attempting to break off a car side-mirror as the other was seen f******g in the lobby.
The ladies, it later emerged, are 22 and 24-year old nieces of former Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Phillip Murgor. He has since called for investigation and p*********n of the Ndichu brothers who have denied any wrongdoing claiming they were trying to neutralize the situation.
So, who are the Ndichu twins?
Eddie Ndichu has been described as skilled in business planning, management and digital finance. He is the holder of a Business Information Systems and Statistics Degree from Murdoch University in Perth, Australia.
In his career, he has held roles including Head of Digital Financial Services and Payments at Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) Group, and Head of Digital Financial Services at Chase Bank.
When Opera Software set up its Kenya office in 2018 and launched its web browser-integrated OPay payments service, it hired Ndichu to steer its fintech strategy on the continent appointing him Managing Director and Vice President for Fintech in Africa. Ndichu later teamed up with his brother to establish Wapi Pay.
After the video went viral and police waded in, Eddie announced via a statement shared on his Twitter page that he would be taking time off to reflect.
“I am extremely saddened by the i******t being highlighted across online media platforms. At the moment, I cannot comment on this matter as it is being handled by the appropriate authorities.
“For now, I have taken some time off to reflect on this embarrassing and unfortunate situation and will cooperate with all stakeholders to ensure a speedy conclusion of the matter,” the statement read in part.
Paul Ndichu has also held a raft of senior roles in telecommunications, finance and e-commerce and is said to be skilled in business strategy. He is the holder of a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from Curtin University in Perth, Australia and has certificates from Harvard and Stanford for leadership and innovation courses.
Among other roles, he has served as Vice-President and Managing Director of Jumia Group where he led the team behind the Easy Taxi app. He also served as the Lead consultant at Little Cab (the Safaricom-backed taxi hailing app).
Paul has also worked as Head of Digital Banking & Payments for Standard Bank Group and Chief Business Officer for Cellulant Group.
In 2017, he was appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a leading Africa-focused digital payments and commerce company, Interswitch Group.
Alongside his brother Eddie, he set up Wapi Pay in 2019. The firm facilitates payments and cross border commerce between Africa and Asia.
Among investors who have backed Wapi Pay so far are Transsion (owner of brands including Tecno, Infinix, and Itel) and EchoVC Partners.