WHO WE ARE

SmartMoney is a dedicated international team, ready to do what ever it takes to make our business grow. Our team includes managers, programmers, trainers and advisors from America, Germany, Bulgaria, South Africa, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. The team works closely together bridging geographical divides using modern technologies like email, Skype and, yes, mobile phones.

OUR TEAM

Michael Spencer

Founder & CEO

Michael Spencer is a veteran FinTech startup entrepreneur driving innovation at the Base of the Pyramid. Michael has 10+ years experience pioneering digital financial inclusion solutions throughout rural Tanzania and Uganda. Prior to this Michael spent 25+ years driving cutting-edge FinTech projects for Fortune 500 companies such as Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, Bank of New York, Lloyds of London, British Telecom and others. Michael is a subject matter expert in a wide range of financial services including retail banking, master trust/custody, equity capital markets, investment banking and insurance. Michael is also a skilled technician with extensive team management and software-development experience using technologies ranging from consumer-facing e-commerce, social media and mobile apps to mainframes, client-server, data management, telecom and blockchain.

Michael Rothe

Managing Partner

Michael Rothe is a financial inclusion specialist with 10+ years experience in the private and public sectors. Prior to joining SmartMoney, he worked as a resident Advisor to the Bank of Uganda (BOU) through GIZ’s Agricultural and Rural Finance Programme. While at BOU, Michael focused on the regulation of mobile money and digital financial services. Michael started his career at Citi Microfinance – Citigroup’s global industry specialist group supporting investments into microfinance institutions across the world. Michael has published papers on agricultural finance as well as mobile money.

Lee H. Babcock

Managing Partner

Lee Babcock is a digital finance leader with extensive private sector, non-profit, consulting and entrepreneurial start-up experience. Prior to joining SmartMoney Lee was the Global Director for Agriculture at Grameen Foundation and also a Senior Advisor with USAID in Indonesia, Bosnia and Azerbaijan. Lee lead a post-Tsunami rural livelihoods restoration project for UNDP in Indonesia. As a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer Lee served as an economic advisor to the Republic of Latvia Prime Minister’s office. Lee was also a financial executive in Silicon Valley and with Fortune 250 companies and was a senior business valuation expert with Ernst & Young and Deloitte & Touche. Lee has published numerous papers, delivered presentations and lead implementations on mobile agriculture finance throughout South East Asia, Africa, Europe and America. Lee holds a PhD in E-Business and an MBA in International Finance and International Business.

Joshua Nkurunziza

Managing Partner

Joshua Nkurunziza is a Ugandan business leader with 6+ years private sector experience. Joshua’s career focus is business administration, management and entrepreneurship. Prior to joining SmartMoney, Joshua worked as a senior business manager with Inspecta Africa, a specialist oil and gas services company which deals in the provision, installation and servicing of equipment to the oil and gas industry in South Sudan and Uganda. At Inspecta, Joshua was the primary local liason with the company head office in Beijing China interfacing with major oil and gas companies such as CNOOC, E&P, GPOC and DPOC Sudan. Prior to Inspecta, Joshua spent three years as a business manager for leading international security firm, G4S Uganda, managing their in-house savings and credit scheme. Joshua holds a Diploma in Management Studies from The British University (UK) and an MBA from the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (UK).

Sharon Masika

Director of Sales

Sharon Masika has 3+ years experience leading SmartMoney’s sales and operations teams in Kasese District. During this period Ms. Masika was promoted 3 times from Sales Agent to District Sales Manager. Prior to SmartMoney, Ms. Masika worked for local town councils in Mpigi and Mukono Districts in Western Uganda. Ms. Masika holds a Certificate and Diploma in Public Administration and Management from Nsamizi Training Institute in Mpigi District (Uganda) plus a certificate in Leadership and Management from Dale Carnegie Training Institute in New York City.

Sarah Namirembe

Sarah Namirembe

Group Finance Director

Sarah Namirembe is a Uganda trained chartered accountant and member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda. Sarah has 8+ years experience in financial control and leadership. As an audit manager with one of Uganda’s leading audit firms Sarah gained extensive market exposure in telecoms, banking, manufacturing, trading, education, hospitality and development. Previously Sarah was a senior financial manager with the Uganda Investment Authority, Uganda Revenue Authority, SANYU FM and Spear Group of Companies. During this time Sarah’s responsibilities included management, budgeting, financial controls, quality assurance, report preparation and audit coordination. Sarah holds a diploma in Tax and Revenue Administration from the East African School of Taxation.

Geoffrey Acini

Operations Manager

Geoffrey Acini has 3+ years experience in operations with SmartMoney. Prior to joining SmartMoney, Geoffrey was District Coordinator for Straight Talk Foundation Uganda Managing the foundations’ community education operations in Northern Uganda. Mr.Acini holds a degree in International Relations and Diplomacy from Nkumba University (Uganda).

Cosmas Vedastus

Operations Manager

Cosmas Vedastus has 10+ years experience in Tanzania’s transportation and tourism sectors. Prior to SmartMoney, Mr. Vedastus was a certified guide leading private tours of Tanzania’s game parks. Mr. Vedastus has many years of experience in field operations throughout Tanzania. Mr. Vedastus holds a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration.

Sheila Oroma

Finance Manager

Sheila Oroma has 5+ years experience in finance and customer relations. Prior to SmartMoney, Ms. Oroma worked for Solutions East Africa as a brand manager for a leading beverage company. Ms. Oroma also worked as a finance assistant for Uganda-based Cloud Design. Ms. Oroma holds a Bachelors Degree in International Relations and Diplomacy from Nkumba University.

William Kasumali

Human Resources Manager

William Kasumali has 18+ years experience in human resources management. Prior to joining SmartMoney, William managed human resources in Kasese District for the Uganda National Election Commission and also served as a branch manager and customer care manager for MTN Uganda. William also managed human resources initiatives for C. Clays in Kampala. William holds a Bachelor of Economics Degree plus Diplomas in Education and Human Resource Management from UCU Kampala.

Priscilla Chassama

Customer Care Manager

Priscilla Chassama lead’s SmartMoney’s customer care program in Tanzania. Ms. Chassama holds a Bachelors degree in Sociology from St. Augustine University of Tanzania. Ms. Chassama speaks English and Swahili.

Maren Sturm

Social Media Director

Maren Sturm will soon finish her master studies in development and nonprofit management during which she conducted research on financial inclusion and digital finance. She also has 1+ year work experience with GIZ both in Germany and the Philippines, focusing on project communication and administration. Prior to that, she has studied and worked in South Africa and China.

Ambasador Edith Ssempala

Advisor

Ambassador Ssempala has had a long, visible and highly distinguished career in diplomacy, public service, international trade and development. Ambassador Ssempala’s central focus has been in diplomacy, economic trade and development and international finance. In 1986 Ambassador Ssempala served as Uganda’s Ambassador to the Nordic countries and in 1996 was appointed Uganda’s Ambassador to the United States of America. Ambassador Ssempala served at the Uganda Embassy in Washington DC until 2006 and thereafter was appointed as Uganda’s representative to Uganda’s Permanent Mission in Ethiopia and the African Union where she sat on a number of high level technical working groups and committees. In 2008 Ambassador Ssempala moved to the World Bank to serve as a Director and Senior Advisor to the then President of the World Bank before returning home to engage in private businesses. Ambassador Ssempala has a Masters’ degree in Civil Engineering from Lumumba University in Russia.

Kim Kamarebe

Advisor

Ms. Kim Kamarebe holds a BS Financial Engineering Degree from Princeton University and an MBA from the Harvard Business School. She has significant experience in investment banking, business Management and private equity in the European and African arenas. Ms. Kamarebe is the Chief Investment Officer and co-founder of Damascus Capital and is an experienced private equity investor focusing on growth capital investment opportunities in East Africa. Most recently, Ms. Kamarebe has also lead East African investments for TLG Capital, a leading private equity investor in frontier markets with a focus on Sub-Saharan Africa. TLG’s investment portfolio includes Quality Chemical Industries Limited, the first WHO-approved manufacturer of anti-retroviral and anti-malarial medications in Sub-Saharan Africa. TLG has interests across a range of sectors including but not limited to FMCG manufacturing, healthcare, technology, real estate and hospitality.

Donald Rukare

Advisor

Dr.Donald Rukare is the Co Founder of the Governance and Public Policy Research Center, a young and growing think tank that provides high end research informing policy formulation in Uganda. Dr. Rukare is an Advocate and a Legal Specialist with over 20 years experience in the field of human rights, good governance and development cooperation. Dr Rukare is President of the Uganda Swimming Federation, Vice President of the African Swimming Federation, FINA Bureau member and Secretary General of the Uganda Olympic Committee. Dr. Rukare holds a Bachelor of Laws (Honors) from Makerere University (Uganda), a Masters in Law from Lund University (Sweden), a Graduate Diploma in International Law from the Institute of Social Studies (Netherlands), a Graduate Diploma in Legal practice from the Law Development Center Kampala and a Doctor of Laws (LLD) from the University of Pretoria (South Africa). Dr. Rukare has attended executive programs in leadership, NGO and sports management at Harvard Kennedy School of Government and the University of Cambridge.

OUR PARTNERS

SmartMoney employs a unique community-based digital finance solution. We partner with rural schools, cooperatives, religious organizations, NGOs, savings groups and local government.  Our wide range of partnerships reflects a belief that digital solutions should complement and enhance rather than replace existing structures.

Partners

OUR CUSTOMERS

RETAIL

Retail customers include:

  • Rural households
  • Smallholder farmers
  • Rural merchants and businesses

SmartMoney serves rural individuals and households including smallholder farmers and villagers generally living on less than USD 2 per day (per person). More than 95% of these stakeholders lack access to a bank account. Their key income generating activity is primarily related to agriculture. Aside from agriculture, their income derives from operating small businesses such as shops, butchers, tailors, barbers, restaurants and guest houses.

SmartMoney serves a diverse range of rural merchants including groceries, hardware shops, restaurants, butchers, guest houses, petrol stations, etc. that range in size from remote rural merchants to larger wholesalers. These merchants accept low value digital payments from the rural community.

INSTITUTIONAL

Institutional customers include large rural institutions such as:

  • Agriculture companies and cooperatives
  • Schools
  • Churches
  • NGOs

SmartMoney serves agriculture companies and cooperatives – organisations that buy crops from farmers. These include offtakers of coffee, cotton, maize, beans, cocoa and other crops. In addition, SmartMoney serves rural institutions that receive payments from rural households – most importantly rural schools and churches.