19 Feb 2024

Truzo: Simple and cost-effective payment solutions to help businesses go global

Truzo is on a mission to facilitate growth in the African economy. Discover how the digital escrow provider is supporting African companies by enabling safe and secure transactions.   

Industry overview and challenges 

The economic landscape in Africa is brimming with opportunities across various sectors, spanning from M&A activity to bilateral trade with the UK, and the expansion of digital remittances and e-commerce. Particularly noteworthy are the surging M&A deals, especially in South Africa, Egypt, and Nigeria, which have provided an exit strategy for many startups and driven significant investment in the African tech sector. In 2022, tech investment in Africa surpassed $3bn for the first time, with the number of African startups securing investment each year increasing by 406% since 2015 (1, 2, 3). Post-Brexit, bilateral trade between the UK and Africa has gained significant momentum, with South Africa’s exports to the UK growing by an average of 20% annually (4). Forecasts indicate that the digital remittances market, just in South Africa, will reach US$1.95bn in 2024, while e-commerce is projected to surpass half a billion users by 2025, demonstrating a steady 17% compounded annual growth rate (5, 6).

However, amidst this economic growth, pervasive fraud presents a significant challenge, hindering trust and deterring business engagement. Online scams and payment fraud have increased, with losses in South Africa alone exceeding $33.3m annually, suffering a 41% rise since the COVID-19 pandemic (7, 8, 9). Additionally, the lack of transparency in transactions, regulatory complexities, and challenges in establishing international banking relationships further compound these issues.

Addressing these challenges, Truzo, co-founded by Terence Naidu and Andrei Migatchev, aims to provide a secure platform for transactions, mitigating risks and fostering trust in African business dealings.

Introducing Truzo 

Truzo, a portmanteau of TRUst and ZOne, is an independent digital escrow payment platform that is dedicated to facilitating secure transactions for buyers and sellers, thereby fostering trust and contributing to Africa’s economic growth. Founded on a commitment to help businesses go global, Truzo plays a crucial role in nurturing Africa’s digital economy and promoting economic prosperity across the continent by fostering secure transactions, supporting 34 currencies and offering full neo banking capabilities such as multi-currency digital wallets, escrow services, remittances, payments and receipts.

Truzo has completed more than 130,000 transactions, totalling over $40m in value. The firm is as an EMD agent of CurrencyCloud and is authorised by both the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FCSA) and Payment Association in South Africa, which supports its vision to operate as one of Africa’s leading multi-currency digital escrow providers. Additionally, the firm’s inclusion in the UK Government’s Global Entrepreneur Programme underscores its commitment to expanding its services and reach (10). Truzo targets online shoppers, merchants, and import/ export agents in countries trading in South African Rand, US dollars, Pound Sterling, and Euros. It aims to further enhance trust and security in digital transactions across Africa.

How Truzo works 

Through their escrow solution, Truzo provides businesses and individuals with simple and cost-effective payment solutions to transact with trust. With offices in London and Johannesburg, the company conducts rigorous compliance checks on every Truzo user to ensure a safe and secure environment.

Truzo’s versatile offering caters to a wide range of transactions, including complex mergers and acquisitions, capital raisings and property transactions down to simple purchases on market places and everything in-between. To conduct a transaction on the platform, the buyer, seller, and agent should all agree to the terms in person or online. The verified buyer then commits to the transaction by paying money into the secure Truzo escrow account. The verified seller arranges delivery of the products or services as agreed between the parties. Once the buyer has received the goods or services, Truzo releases the money to the seller or agent.

Transaction parties have online access to Truzo’s digital platform throughout the duration of the transaction, enabling them to track progress and status online or via the award-winning app. The company commits to opening the client’s escrow account within 48 hours of receiving all required documentation, maintaining efficiency without compromising service quality.

The founders' story

Terence Naidu
co-founder and CEO
Andrei Migatchev
co-founder and CTO

With over 22 years of experience in investment banking, finance and asset management, Terence became frustrated with fraud and corruption in South Africa. Having experienced a potential fraudulent transaction when buying online, he knew there had to be a better, safer way to transact. This belief led him to the conception of a platform where buyers and sellers could transact securely. Terence’s career history includes positions at Digital Africa Ventures Fund Managers as an investment committee member, a member of the Association of Black Securities and Investment Professionals advisory committee to South Africa’s National Treasury Department and All Weather Capital board member. He is the founder and CEO of ZarClear Securities Lending, and an investment manager at 27four Investment Managers, Sanlam Capital Markets, and Rand Merchant Bank. Terence is currently a board member and investment committee member of the African Leadership Academy and holds a bachelor’s degree in investment management from the University of South Africa. 

Andrei has over 24 years of experience in information technology and research and development. He has worked for Magix, Magic Software SA, and Clover South Africa. He is a serial entrepreneur, and co-founded WhoYou, and Envisionit Deep AI. Andrei holds a master’s degree in software engineering and cyber security and a bachelor’s degree in software engineering and information security from the University of South Africa.  


The next steps for Truzo 

Truzo has opted to utilise Floww’s innovative infrastructure for its upcoming funding round, aligning with its future objectives. With over 7,000 registered users as of Q1 2024 post regulatory approvals and significant product development to enable growth at scale, the company’s focus now shifts towards expanding its operations, ensuring compliance, making strategic hires in business development, and implementing an extensive marketing strategy. 

Over the next 36 months, Truzo aims to triple its headcount and assert dominance in both the African (starting with South Africa) and UK markets, prioritising corporate M&A escrow, cross-border trade, and remittances. Notable clients and partners include First National Bank, MTN, Currencycloud, RMB, Amazon Web Services, AON, and Fungi Utilities. Additionally, Truzo’s client pipeline features prominent entities such as MTN, Webber Wentzel, White & Case, ENS Africa, and WESGRO (Cape Town and Western Cape Tourism, Trade, and Investment). 

**Floww Markets Limited is a company authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Firm reference number 980098.

The information and imagery contained within this article does not represent the opinions of Floww. Floww does not have a view on opinions provided by Truzo in this article and elsewhere where they may be expressed, and is not responsible or liable for the information within this article.