Olugbenga Agboola, Co-Founder and CEO of Flutterwave interviewed with The Spark Team on Funding for Fintech
Bootstrapping to Build a Business
I have a high level of respect for people who are able to build companies from scratch with no funding, and in certain industries, this is a great path to follow – it also means founders have total control of their company’s direction.
However, in other industries, and to scale certain businesses rapidly you do need funding – and that’s also a great path to follow.
In the end, whether bootstrapping or raising capital, what’s most important is the impact of your company in the market.
Positioning Fintech Company to Secure Funding
Two major things that investors want to see is a scalable business and the clear impact of your product on your target market, for example, if you are creating a product for Africans, starting off in Kenya, when you take it out of the context of Kenya into another African country, is this product still viable?
To position yourself to secure funding, have a relatively clear idea of ‘how’ you want to scale, this can be modified in future but investors are looking for companies with long term plans.
Advice on Managing Funds
Fintech StartUps typically receive funding as they grow whether its Angel, Seed, Series A to develop their MVP or even grow the business. It’s very tempting to get carried away with the Silicon Valley hype and not spend their money efficiently.
I tell people all the time that 80% of the time, being a startup founder is not as sexy as people make it out to be – it’s a lot of work, and this means that founders have to know how to separate the ‘image’ of being a founder from the actual work – and focus on what’s important to them.
In 2018, reports show that Nigeria FinTechs have raised over $95million, how can more Fintech startups take advantage of the opportunities available this year?
There are so many opportunities available for Nigerian Fintechs at the moment, a lot of opportunities come about as a result of a strong network, so you need to position yourself in these circles – make yourself visible to investors, apply to pre-seed funding programs, companies like Microtraction will offer you pre-seed funding with a great idea, you just need to prove that it is a viable business idea.
Inclusive Fintech Space
As a Fintech, half the time your company’s solution will cut across a number of industries. For example, with Flutterwave as a payments infrastructure company, we work closely with other industries and sectors because one of the unifying factors behind these businesses is payments.
Fintechs need to be creating solutions that are impactful to their immediate industry, but also beyond that.
Challenges Facing the Underbanked and Unbanked in Nigeria
The underbanked and unbanked in Nigeria are virtually locked out of access to formal credit and I think that’s a big issue.
I’m glad to see a few startups working to change this but from my personal experience, the biggest issue I see is the lack of access to multiple payment collection options which makes them leave a lot of money on the table and kills the possibility of any kind of plans to scale beyond their locale.
Predictions on the Future of Fintech
Fintechs are well positioned to improve the digitization of products and services across Nigeria and Africa. Collaborating with Banks, TelCos, other institutions; Fintechs will be able to develop quick solutions that would improve the delivery of solutions to the wider market.
Describe Yourself in 3 words.
Driven, Resilient, Loyal
I’m a sports lover, specifically, a very big Formula 1, and an Arsenal fan so I unwind by watching a race, especially Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) or a football game.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in The Spark Magazine. Find the magazine here to read other articles.