On one afternoon while in Matero township of Lusaka city, Aston was moved by how much he was over-charged for sending money to a cousin. He paid a sending fee of about 20% of the amount he was sending. This is a rip-off, sending money across should not be this expensive he said to himself. He then started contemplating on how he could help to provide poor Zambians with an affordable way to transmit money in the economy. This thought has now proved to be a game-changer in the Zambian mobile money sector. He shared his plan with Kampamba and the duo decided to research more on the technology with the aim of entering the sector and changing the way things are done.
In their second meeting over the idea, they realized that they were a bit over ambitious with the dream. It seemed impossible because no indigenous Zambian owned a payment system at the time. According to Aston, this gave them more desire to pursue the idea and turn the thought into reality.
They registered the payment system and made it a subsidiary of their already established IT firm called Virtual Space Limited. Product research, document preparation and system development commenced in mid-2016. The due spent all their savings and earnings from their business to finance the establishment of the payment system. By February 2017, they had all documentation the Central Bank of Zambia needed to support their application.
As soon as they lodged in their application with the Central Bank, they started promoting the product on social media with carefully targeted ads and posts informing the public that they were not yet authorized to operate until fully designated by the central bank. Their product received an overwhelming response from the general public. Their social media audience and following grew to hundreds in just a few months and later on to thousands. They also held agent training countrywide which saw them train over 350 Super Agents on how to perform transactions on the Mangwee Platform. Agents were also given training in float management and customer service.
The year 2018 came with laughter for the Virtual Space team as Mangwee was finally designated as a payment business system by the Central Bank on the 15th of February 2018. This authorised them to start operating. The team quickly organized themselves for launch and on the 1st of May 2018, Mangwee Payments officially started offering its services to the public and performed 28 transactions in its first month of operations which was a great achievement for the company.