INNOVATORS VS COVID 19
Edoka Idoko Shares with Us How Ojirehprime is Building Africa’s New Bank
We talked to Edoka Idoko of Ojirehprime Financial Service about digital banking services, and he had the following to say:-
May we know you?
Edoka Idoko: I am the founder/Chief executive of Ojirehprime Financial service Ltd.
Tell us more about Ojirehprime?
Edoka Idoko: We started as an e-commerce company in Nov 2016 from a faulty Samsung tab whose battery lasted only 30mins. One Year later, we realized that only 4% of payments were made using the debit card, and for fear of falling victim to card frauds, 96% of payments were made via direct fund transfers. To address this, in 2018, we launched Ojirehprime card, which is a prepaid card that is not connected to your bank account, and within two years, we grew organically over 40,000 users. In our next survey, where we interviewed over 100,000 millennials, a staggering 97% believe that traditional banks are not transparent, have poor customer experience, and watching a football match offers a better experience than walking into a bank. This is where our journey to build a bank you’ll be proud to call Family began and to achieve this; we’re currently in the final phase of securing a banking license, hopefully before the end of this quarter.
As a digital bank, how will you define Ojirehprime?
Edoka Idoko: At Ojirehprime, we’re building a more transparent and customer-focused bank that offers free debit cards delivered to your doorstep with easy access to loans and innovative products that help you save.
Tell us about how you’ve been able to Fund Ojirehprime to date?
Edoka Idoko: Our Funding Journey has been more of a pure bootstrapping exercise with massive support from Family and friends; however, we just opened a $1m convertible note offering that seems to be doing well with a 20% funding target achieved.
How Does Ojirehprime Innovate?
Edoka Idoko: Firstly, innovation is one of our core drivers, except that it is strongly based on what our users want. We pay very close attention to our community of customers and keep close communication. In this way, we can easily tell what the market wants and the direction the market is going then we innovate in that direction.
How did the coronavirus pandemic affect your business, and how are you coping?
Edoka Idoko: We have always been an advocate of promoting a cashless economy and work from the home model, so all the pandemic did was to give a boost to the direction we’ve been headed all along.
Did you make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learnt?
Edoka Idoko: My first approach to managing the situation was having a frank talk with the team, so we all have a clear picture of the reality on the ground. As much as the lockdown would give a boost to our model, we also knew that a portion of our model depended on moping physical cash from the society where the average millennial will have to go deposit cash into their account, but here we find ourselves in a lockdown situation which would significantly affect income, so we agreed to a 25% lay-off, and 40% salary cut down for the rest. This is the only way we could survive, and it worked. My big lesson is to stay flexible.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Edoka Idoko: Most of our tools are built in-house except for a few like mailing services, zoom or google meet, etc.
Who are your competitors, and how do you plan to stay in the game?
Edoka Idoko: We have amazing guys Kuda, sparkle amongst the others, and these guys are doing great jobs. At the end of the day, the goal, I believe, is to build the Africa of our dreams, and as long as we all keep and maintain focus doing what we know best, we will all lead in our strength.
Your final thoughts?
Edoka Idoko: A lot is happening in Africa that the media is not capturing. If you’re looking for the best startups, innovators, disruptors, and millennials with a passion to change and affect the world, then come to Africa.
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