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Paylater Lending app Eyes Full-Service Digital Bank

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Paylater, Nigerian retail lending startup, is working on a plan to transition to a full service digital bank after securing a $5 million debt facility from Nairobi-based Lendable, technology-enabled funding provider to African consumer and small business lenders.

 

qz.com reported that Paylater is looking to deploy new products while transitioning to a digital bank.

 

Since launching in 2016, the Paylater mobile app was downloaded by over 1 million users and disbursed loans of over N13 billion ($36 million).

 

But now, the company is looking to get into the unbanked population of Nigeria and provide banking services for them.

 

The startup will be announcing a name change to fit its new business in the first week in April.

 

In Nigeria, there is an estimated 60% of adults without a bank account. Nigeria and six other countries are home to nearly half of the 1.7 billion people without bank accounts, according to the World Bank Global Findex Database report.

 

Paylater is a unit of OneFi which started in 2011 as One Credit, which provided loans to middle class salary earners, using a paper-based application process that required supporting documentation.

 

But that restricted the scope of the service in a country where more than 60% of working adults are in the informal sector and therefore are not paid documented monthly salaries or possessed formal documentation.

 

The introduction of a bank verification number (BVN) by Nigeria’s central bank in 2016 enabled young companies like One Credit to launch more flexible, digital lending services available to more people including Paylater.

 

The BVN is the first true record of Nigerians employing biometric security and linking all back accounts owned by a single user.

 

“As we are pushing on with our web and digital platforms, we also want to reach out to a segment in the economy that is always talked about but not really catered to,” said Chijoke Dozie, who co-founded OneFi with his brother Ngozi.

 

In a few months, OneFi will also be launching some of its services deploying USSD mobile technology found in simple feature phones rather than the more expensive smartphones.

 

The idea is to “onboard people that are not using smartphones and we are banking on our reputation as loan providers to reach them.”

 

The strides that digital lenders have made have made traditional banks offer retail loans to customers. But in the past, this was not the case. Banks in Nigeria have a poor reputation for providing credit. Customers of commercial banks are burdened with paper applications and high interest rates coupled with the need to produce collateral.

 

News of Paylater’s transition to a digital bank comes in the week that Diamond Bank, which was controlled by the Dozie family, is being  merged with Access Bank. Diamond Bank, which was most recently run by another Dozie brother, Uzoma, had struggled over the last couple of years. Last October, the chairman and three directors of the bank resigned following a protracted dispute involving a major investor.

 

OneFi’s Dozie believes that deal with Lendable is international validation of the progress they have made and their preparedness for the next step. This line of financing provides the opportunity to transition into a full-service digital bank. The company will also be announcing a partnership with Visa—a move to provide credit via QR codes in supermarkets and clinics.

 

Daniel Goldfarb, the co founder of Lendable, which is backed by Omidyar Investments, said his company is looking to increase access to finance in frontier markets and wants to do this through non-banking lenders. “Paylater has shown that they know their market intimately, while having impressive tech and a platform that is scalable. We are expecting 75% growth within nine months.”

 

 

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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E-Business

MainOne Pledges N25billion to Digitization of Lagos

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MainOne has launched its “Digital Lagos: Broadband for All” campaign initiative to enable the digital transformation of Lagos state through deployment of ubiquitous broadband infrastructure across the state.

MainOne’s ambition for Lagos is inspired by the vision of Lagos Governor-elect Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who noted presciently that “Technology will improve the rule of law, education, ease of doing business and government processes of Lagos”.

At the campaign launch organized in Lagos to announce its plans earlier in the week, Funke Opeke, Chief Executive Officer, MainOne, said, the company is keen to collaborate with the Lagos State Government and all other relevant stakeholders to build Digital Lagos and help citizens from all walks of life realize the benefits of broad, sustainable economic growth, modernized education, health, and other services delivery, and improved quality of life.

“MainOne is pleased to have the opportunity to present its plan for Digital Lagos, a proven path to ubiquitous broadband connectivity. This plan will involve the investment by MainOne of over N25 billion over the next 2-3 years to develop critical fiber optic infrastructure to enable broadband services across Lagos state,” she said.

A presentation was made by Mr. Judah Levine, CEO HIP Consult, a Washington DC based, independent, management consulting firm with specialization in ICT in emerging markets. HIP Consult worked with MainOne in developing a concept paper and implementation plan for Digital Lagos. Mr. Levine touched on the research done for Digital Lagos, its implementation plans and subsequent impact in Lagos State.

Opeke said MainOne has pioneered investments in critical internet-enabling infrastructure across West Africa, Nigeria, and Lagos. To date, the company has invested over N120 billion funded by leading African banks and has proven its capabilities in expanding and densifying localized fiber networks in neighboring Ogun and Edo States by deploying almost 1,000kms of fiber in partnership with Facebook to expand broadband access and connect government institutions and other areas of interest.

Opeke said, as the licenced InfraCo for Lagos zone, the resulting network to be built by MainOne would provide essential connectivity to critical State institutions, cover over 300 government agencies, up to 10,000 State CCTV locations, Telecom operators and ISPs, public Wi-Fi hotspots, Smart City components / IOT devices, in addition to Enterprises.

In Lagos, MainOne’s existing 700-kilometer network already covers major population centers and Yaba, where it provides connectivity for the majority of the Yabacon ecosystem and has connected startups like Andela, ccHub, Paga, and Flutterwave and others that have raised up to USD500million Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Nigeria.

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How to Accelerate the Growth of Your Startup

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By Adeniyi Ogunfowoke,

Launching a startup is one thing; accelerating growth and expanding it is an entirely different challenge. While patience is certainly a virtue, it’s not necessarily the best skill for entrepreneurs to adopt. Instead, the focus should be on rapid growth, return on investment and long-term success. How do you accelerate or boost the growth of your business? The following tips offer some insights.

Monetize early

Monetization may be the most important aspect for all startups. Many founders battle with the idea of whether to build an audience or monetize first. Don’t hesitate to monetize as early as possible. Put your revenue model to the test early and see if your idea holds weight in real market conditions. People only value what they pay for. And paying customers is the quickest way to validate your idea. Growing your audience to high numbers is comforting, but the product/service remains an unvalidated idea until you monetize it.

Experiment with pricing

Pricing should evolve as your company evolves. Only by charging money and testing pricing strategies can you truly understand how your audience values your product and their readiness to pay for it. You’ve found your optimal price when: a relatively small percentage of people complain that you are too expensive, another small percentage that doesn’t hesitate at all before paying and the biggest segment says the product is quite expensive but they are ready to buy because they see its value.

Add new streams of revenue

After you’ve been in business long enough, you’ll likely begin to understand your customers more and be able to hone in on what they really want. This gives you the unique opportunity to add additional streams of revenue. Jumia, Nigeria’s no 1 shopping destination started as a platform for ordering electronics, gadgets and other household items. Today, the ecommerce platform is earning revenue from logistics, hotel and flight booking, payment gateway and online food ordering.

Increase capacity

The problem for most startups is that they quickly reach capacity and can’t perform at a higher level. If a startup can only hire enough employees to remain open 12 hours a day, it’s going to be difficult to increase revenues. The obvious answer to increase capacity is by hiring additional employees and staying open another five or six hours.

Narrow down customer acquisition efforts

Sometimes, time, effort, and money don’t bring about desired results. In fact, it may be a targeting problem, not a product problem. You can’t be all things to everyone so if you’re trying to market to everyone it’s simply a waste of resources. To accelerate growth focus on a niche audience that has expressed genuine interest in your brand.

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Only Disruptive Entrepreneurs Can Save Nigerian Economy – Ekeh

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Leo Stan Ekeh, serial digital entrepreneur and Chairman, Zinox Group has declared that the only way the Nigerian economy can realize the desired impetus to survive is for the Federal and State Governments to support disruptive entrepreneurs who are now the corporate miracles of every progressive economy.

 

He cited America as an example which has produced the known whizkids of the century and raised global giants such as the Googles, Facebooks, Amazons and Microsofts, etc. of this world.

 

He said this while delivering an incisive talk at the Access Bank-sponsored 2019 African Fintech Disrupt Conference held at the Landmark Centre.


Leo Stan Ekeh, Chairman, Zinox Group, speaking at the Access Bank-sponsored 2019 African Fintech Disrupt Conference held at the Landmark Centre.

 

Ekeh, whose talk kept the huge crowd cheering for more, noted that Nigeria has a huge stock of smart kids who can change and sustain the developmental story of this country, adding that all they require is an enabling environment which is not too expensive for the government to provide.

 

While advising entrepreneurs not to see hope as a strategy in business, he reminded them of a critical configuration required for a self-audit before deciding if they really want to be entrepreneurs.

 

According to Ekeh, who also doubles as a global advisor to Microsoft, success as an entrepreneur in Africa requires 40% common sense, 20% spirituality and 40% knowledge of the business.

 

In his opinion, the 21st century has defined two types of entrepreneurs – disruptors and regular entrepreneurs.

 

While advising startups and other budding business owners, he noted that their passion must pay their bills, else there is no justification for the business they are launching.

 

He reminded startups of the essential few ingredients of success, humility, ability to see the end from the start, an eye for the bigger picture, creative mindset, knowledge and energy to occupy the sector as well as the capacity to manage cash and excitement.

He, however, cautioned that they must be prepared to take reasonable pains before pleasure as they must postpone luxurious life until when they have built enough reserves to sustain such a lifestyle.

 

Counseling female entrepreneurs, the self-professed disruptive entrepreneur assured them that they will lead in the second quarter of this century as informed women are known to operate efficiently in structured environments with auditable systems.

 

He affirmed that no government has a choice to deny the youths of progressive infrastructure, except they want to face the wrath of this dominant segment of the populace.

 

With a round of applause punctuating his speech, Ekeh ended by advising those leaving the country for supposedly greener pastures not to waste their time as the population and lifestyle of Nigeria holds unquantifiable demand structure which is wealth on its own.

 

 

 

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