INNOVATORS VS COVID 19
Driving Innovation and Growth in the Middle of a Global Pandemic
We talked to Tosin Eniolorunda on how TeamApt creates financial services for the underserved, and this is what he had to say.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Tosin Eniolorunda: It’s been a tough year for everybody, but I always try to find positives in every situation. We are all in good health, and, compared with the rest of the world, Africa has been relatively unscathed by the pandemic, so that’s something to be thankful for.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded TeamApt?
Tosin Eniolorunda: Before launching TeamApt in 2015, I was a product manager and Software Architect, building many industry-leading financial services products. TeamApt started with a team of five on a mission to address the financial inclusion gap in Africa and other emerging markets by creating financial services for underserved individuals and businesses. Today, we have a team of 223, more than 42,000 agents across every state in Nigeria. We also manage over one hundred thousand businesses and support millions of customers every day.
How does TeamApt innovate?
Tosin Eniolorunda: Creating financial services for the underserved is not straightforward. We are working with a target market that has historically been overlooked means we need to devote time to understand their true needs & limitations. We also have to be flexible in reducing those limitations and ensuring that our solutions are easy to use and accessible. As someone that has come from a product background, the vision for TeamApt has always been to create the most effective and efficient products. One of the hurdles to creating these effective solutions for the African market is developing and executing at scale. At TeamApt, we commit to making these solutions and the capacity to do it, and it is driven by some of the brightest and most talented people you can find.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Tosin Eniolorunda: The pandemic has been a mixed blessing for us. On the one hand, many people are more reluctant to spend their money because of economic uncertainty. Still, on the other hand, there has been a massive increase in digital banking adoption in Nigeria. With the pandemic putting strains on the traditional banking system (longer queues, unreliable transaction channels, and poor support), people have been considering other alternatives and forming new habits. As users turn to digital banking, TeamApt’s innovative digital branches combine proprietary technology and existing offline community networks to provide financial services to a broad spectrum of people. We have also seen significant growth in transaction value and volume and growth in our mobile agent network. Our mobile money platform, Moniepoint, is also the largest non-bank mobile money in Nigeria, despite being the latest entrant.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Tosin Eniolorunda: As mentioned earlier, I like to focus on the positives in every situation. Building and running a business in Nigeria can be very stressful. Many of the challenges are well documented, but I like to focus on the impact we have on people’s lives and our results. This approach makes it easier for me to manage any stress or anxiety.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Tosin Eniolorunda: The fintech sector in Nigeria is quite competitive, and there is no shortage of companies offering one fintech service or another. However, our focus and approach to innovation gives us a great advantage and positions us for consistent growth going forward. With rapid growth comes new challenges and opportunities, so we’ve had to grow our infrastructure to match our solutions’ increased demand. We have built a proprietary Core Banking Application (CBA) called IRIS, which is the engine that processes transactions and posts updates to accounts, allowing us to maintain high product stability across all our products. We are incredibly proud of this feat as it very capital intensive to purchase one.
Your final thoughts?
Tosin Eniolorunda: 2020 has been a challenging year for many people, but it has also been a catalyst for many new opportunities. We have seen many businesses, especially technology-related businesses, experience growth, and achieve great success even in the middle of the pandemic. While we don’t want to play down the negative impact of the pandemic and the lives lost, it is essential to make sure that we are making the most of the opportunities available and equipping ourselves for success as we advance.
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