Soweto-born entrepreneurs have teamed up to create a way for ordinary South Africans to buy online without entering their bank details. This innovation opens up possibilities for both businesses and customers to engage without the worry of scams.

Airbuy was officially launched in 2019 with a mission to help ordinary South Africans pay and transact online more safely using their phone numbers instead of risking their banking details.

This startup vision was to make paying online as simple as buying from a “Spaza Shop”.

The startup was co-founded by Soweto-born Wits Alumni, Njabulo Makhathini and Tshepang Kobo.

To commercialise their platform, Airbuy received support from Adanian Labs, a Pan African high impact tech disruptor’s investor in SA startups with high potential to revolutionise FinTech markets.

The founders have been working on improving their product to ensure that it best serves the many more users they anticipate as they gear to scale into the market.

“It gives us great pleasure to invest in this product, partnering with South Africa’s black youth and enabling the continuity of the Airbuy innovation as Adanian Labs because this allows us to be part of the future Africa we want to see. An Africa that produces solutions that are scalable across the continent and globally,” said Vanessa Perumal, Local country partner for Adanian Labs South Africa.

The platform, built with the ordinary man in mind, allows its users to hold an Airbuy wallet linked to their mobile numbers and is easy to load via ATM deposits or purchasing a voucher at a “Spaza Shop” or Retail stores, to the value they want to load, and then redeem on

Airbuy allows users to top up their wallet (linked to their number) and pay using their phone numbers on any online stores with the Airbuy blue button.

Now looking to increase their merchant and consumer community, currently, at just over 600, Airbuy is inviting businesses to sign up on their platform.

“We are confident that partnering with us will give merchants access to a wider customer base in the township economy. We have made sign up quick and easy with great leverages for businesses who work with us as the black youth of South Africa,” says Kobo.

Airbuy also offers merchants access to a broader consumer base that is concerned about being scammed using their banking details when paying online.

“We feel we are ready to take our next big step on our journey which is taking Airbuy and scaling it across South Africa first then across the rest of the continent. The partnership with Adanian Labs comes at a very pivotal time for Airbuy as Adanian Labs Venture Building Programme is more continent focused.” says Makhatini, COO of Airbuy.


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