Leveraging a local recruitment partner to break into new markets

WeAreKeen helped African fintech Yoco successfully navigate new European hiring markets, acquiring top talent and building market-conforming hiring processes.

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Recruitment of product leadership

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Market research & Talent Mapping

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GTM Strategy

Lucy Williams Global Head of Talent Acquisition at Yoco

Lucy Williams
Global Head of Talent Acquisition at Yoco

WeAreKeen exceeded my expectations by taking the embedded recruitment model to another level. It was absolutely seamless how their talent partners embedded into our team and assimilated with Yoco's brand. We appreciated the professionalism, as well as the ability and agility to move across recruitment functions to help us navigate new markets.

I've always seen embedded partners as a long-term, fixed strategy, but the WeAreKeen flexible model provides real value in terms of recruitment and in a consultative capacity, swiftly switching and catering to expansion into different hiring markets.


Yoco is a rapidly-growing African technology company, enabling entrepreneurs - and the local economies they serve - to thrive through open commerce. Yoco's mission, as an offline and online payments provider, lies in making commerce accessible and inclusive by creating access to financial services for the self-employed and SMEs.

Founded in 2015 the company now processes over US$2 billion annually, and 200 000 small businesses spanning myriad industries have chosen Yoco as their payments partner. By 2024 Yoco aims to serve 3 million entrepreneurs and become the leading open commerce ecosystem for SMEs across Africa and the Middle East.


Yoco and WeAreKeen Partnership Case Study
Main objectives
  • Partnership with a local recruitment advisor to help navigate expansion into European fintech hiring markets, gaining market insights and hiring top talent for product leadership roles

The challenge

In 2021, Yoco raised US$83M in a Series C round, the largest of its kind in South Africa. The company has since been scaling offline and online payment offerings and focusing on replicating its impressive homeland growth in new markets across Africa and the Middle East, creating access and removing barriers to digital financial services for SMEs in local communities.

To accomplish this, Yoco has been increasing its headcount rapidly and remotely, tapping into a trend that has seen African unicorns hire top talent globally in order to scale to new heights.

Yoco has focussed on accelerating its roadmap by expanding its leadership team within the European fintech markets. For that reason, the company needed a local recruitment partner to help navigate the markets and employ the right tactics to identify and hire top talent. Yoco also sought advisory support to gain a solid understanding of the new hiring markets in order to build out hiring processes accordingly.

The solution

During the partnership with Yoco, WeAreKeen embedded a dedicated team of two talent partners to work closely with Yoco's internal recruitment team and hiring managers, providing support with:

  • Identifying and hiring top talent for engineering, data, and product leadership roles by boosting recruitment pipelines with proactive sourcing and managing end-to-end recruitment processes.
  • Market research and insights into the Dutch and Northern European job markets to help build market-conforming hiring processes.
  • Talent mapping for senior-level tech roles across new markets to support Yoco's expansion.

Due to the close cooperation between WeAreKeen and Yoco, the WeAreKeen talent partners were able to integrate fully into the Yoco brand and team. WeAreKeen took a proactive, hands-on approach to their work, supporting Yoco across various recruitment functions and employing high-touch, open communication to ensure alignment throughout the partnership.

The results

The results of the WeAreKeen and Yoco collaboration demonstrate the power of a strategic alliance with a local recruitment partner to help navigate expansion into new markets. By leveraging the market knowledge, networks, expertise, and assets of a local team, Yoco has gained a competitive advantage that accelerated its hiring roadmap and set up a foundation of market-conforming hiring processes for long-term success.

The partnership was a two-way commitment that ensured that the WeAreKeen talent partners met Yoco's hiring objectives for executive product roles by filling top-of-funnel pipelines. Additionally, WeAreKeen further facilitated Yoco's international expansion by sharing valuable market research, including talent mapping for senior tech profiles across various regions, as well as key insights into local hiring markets.

Recruitment of product leadership

Talent mapping for product leadership roles

Insights into the Dutch and European tech hiring markets

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