Kenyan techies Eddie Ndichu and his twin brother Paul Ndichu are in the eye of a storm after a key investor of their nascent fintech company pulled out over a viral video.
Japanese venture capital firm Kepple Africa Ventures on Tuesday announced that it would “relinquish all the rights of our investment stake” in the twins' Kenyan fintech startup, Wapi Pay.
The announcement came just a day after the brothers were caught on camera in an altercation at Ole Sereni Hotel.
“We will relinquish all the rights of our investment stake in Wapi Pay,” General Partner Satoshi Shinad said in a tweet.
The value of Kepple Africa Ventures’ investment in the twins' company is not clear, but the firm is one of Wapi Pay's key backers. Others are EchoVC and China-based global fund MSA Capital, as well as other angel investors.
In August this year, Wapi Pay, which also has operations in Singapore, raised $2.2 million (about Sh250 million) pre-seed funding round from investors to help it engage regulators in seeking licencing across Africa and drive the firm's expansion.
“These funds will help Wapi Pay diversify its product range and drive growth so that we can evolve remittances into real-time global cross-border payments, starting with Africa and Asia. All while minimising the cost of transactions, it needs to be as easy as sending M-Pesa,” Eddie Ndichu, co-founder at Wapi Pay, said at the time.
Founded in 2019, Wapi Pay, which has offices in Nairobi, Singapore and Tianjin (China), delivers platform-to-platform integrations, global accounts and virtual wallets to enable convenient payments.
All was going well for the twins until they were accused of being at the centre of an altercation at the Mombasa Road hotel.
The brothers are accused of assaulting a woman and of vandalising the side mirror of a vehicle during the drama.
But the brothers, in a statement released Tuesday, distanced themselves from assault claims, saying the video does not reflect a true account of the events that took place over the weekend.
The brothers allege that they were breaking up a fight.
“To be clear, Paul and Eddie got involved in an attempt to neutralise a confrontation between two women and to defend themselves from certain aggressors,” Wapi Pay said in the statement.
The company also said it does not condone violent behaviour.
“We found the story distasteful and troubling and want to firmly state that any type of behaviour involving violence against women does not reflect our values nor does it reflect those of Eddie and Paul,” it adds.
“Our understanding is that the allegations and video currently being shared on social media, albeit horrific and regrettable, do not depict the true events that transpired that night.”
The twins say the matter has been reported to the police for further investigation and action.
Update: Ole Sereni Hotel has issued a statement on the matter.
Wapi Pay's board announced the brothers will step aside to allow investigations into the incident.