The MarketWorks Limited is a Kenyan startup specializing in the development of foreign currency exchange applications, primarily for emerging economies. The company’s newest app, FPESA, enables small and medium enterprises (SME’s) in Kenya to transfer USD, GBP, and EUR to or from any participating bank or mobile money account (i.e. PayPal), using an exchange rate they select. The application is designed to streamline the currently arduous foreign exchange transaction process, without disrupting the user’s existing accounting operations. To accomplish this, FPESA reduces the process of buying foreign exchange, executing single or bulk wire transfers, and reconciling accounts to a single, secure online operation. FPESA also provides users with real-time quotes from participating banks and foreign exchange bureaus, so that they can select from the many exchange options the market has to offer.
An application of this nature has been sorely needed, says Co-founder and Director Amoroso Gombe: “In many emerging economies, there isn’t a free market in foreign exchange and, unfortunately, this results in unfair or manipulative currency pricing. Our mission is to give users the opportunity to shop for the best currency exchange option available.”
A member of the Microsoft BizSpark program, The MarketWorks built and developed the cloud component of their FPESA solution using the Azure stack. The company decided to use Azure, in part, because of its dynamically scalable back-end hosting. In addition, FPSEA leverages SQL Server for local storage and security features and Azure Virtual Machine to connect and manage their application server.
The MarketWorks also relies on a large amount of open source to power their solution, and Azure’s ability to integrate this technology, without sacrificing operating power, cemented the company’s decision to build with Azure. FPESA uses Apache web server, MySQL, and PHP – all of which have been incorporated seamlessly, says Gombe. “Much of our software is open source and we have been able to port it to Azure without any problems. BizSpark has given us access to many great features that generally do not come with other platforms. The program has been very helpful to our development.”
Microsoft is helping these startups succeed through its BizSpark program. To join or see other startup stories, visit us at our website here. To listen to our startups, check out these podcasts on devradio here. Additionally, see the Azure for Startups GitHub repository which helps you learn about Azure and contains a variety of tutorials, code samples, ARM templates, and documentations for you to explore.
About BizSpark: Microsoft BizSpark is a global program that helps startups succeed by giving free access to Microsoft Azure cloud services, software and support. BizSpark members receive up to $750 per month of free Microsoft Azure cloud services for 1 year: that’s $150 per month each for up to 5 developers. Azure works with Linux and open-source technologies such as Linux, Ruby, Python, Java and PHP. BizSpark is available to startups that are privately held, less than 5-years-old and earn less than $1M in annual revenue.