Failing To Win


“Far too often we focus on startup success stories – but you will learn so much from Mike’s tale of ‘failure.’ His honest and vulnerable story of entrepreneurship in Africa reveals just how much failing is baked into the foundations of winning, along with a healthy dose of tenacity and the absence of bad luck.”


- Michael Jordaan, Former CEO of FNB


“This story is a gift for entrepreneurs and indeed anyone wanting to learn about the first generation of African fintechs that paved the way for future companies to thrive.”


- Katlego Maphai, Co-Founder & CEO of Yoco

AUTHOR: Mike Quinn

GENRE: Business/memoir

RRP: R285

ISBN/EAN: 9781990956317


RELEASE DATE: August 2021


In 2009, Canadian entrepreneur Mike Quinn packed his backpack and moved to Lusaka, Zambia on a mission to find African entrepreneurs building scalable, high-impact businesses. There he stumbled across two South African brothers who had founded a business to help unbanked smallholder farmers receive mobile payments in a market where cash was king. After convincing his retired parents to mortgage their house and lend him $100,000, Mike joined as a co-founder of Zoona and became CEO for nine of the next ten years.

With his partners, Mike built a network of more than 3,000 entrepreneur agents across Zambia and Malawi that enabled millions of unbanked consumers to send and receive $2.5-billion in money transfers and remittances. Headquartered in Cape Town, South Africa, Zoona raised over $35-million of venture investment and operated on the leading edge of Africa’s emerging fintech ecosystem.

Mike’s remarkable story gives a rare and honest glimpse into the workings of a pioneering African startup through the lens of a purpose-driven entrepreneur who went “all in”. Zoona faced tremendous adversity along the way: currency crises, investment round collapses, ruthless pushback from the major mobile network operators, and a continuous internal struggle to discover and execute a growth strategy that matched the company’s billion-dollar ambition.

It was by failing to win that Mike learned what entrepreneurship – specifically entrepreneurship in Africa – is all about, and it was what motivated him to double down and try again.


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