Michael Femi Simeon is the CEO and Co-founder of VPD Money, a financial services app brought to you by part of the team that delivered VoguePay. It provides digital financial solutions for banks and addresses the gaps within the space. Michael is of the opinion that entrepreneurship is a business of risk and while he takes us through the financial services landscape, he doesn’t fail to drop golden nuggets for budding entrepreneurs in this interview on how to manage such risks and beat the odds of an emerging economy.
Where It All Began
I’m one of those people who started doing business right from the age of 18. I went to school in Newcastle, UK. I studied Politics and Economics. I started out in property investing before dabbling into hotel development. Later on, I ventured into financial services and payments where I co-founded VoguePay, which is now a household name, in 2012.
The most exciting part of my journey so far is that I get to be a part of shaping the financial landscape in Africa. I’ve spent over 10 years now in the fintech space and I’ve seen a lot of disruption going on in the industry. We are applying Artificial intelligence to Customer service data inputs to enable us to spot the pain points of the consumer. Consumers need a seamless, borderless digital solution.
The incumbent, that is the commercial banks, don’t want to change things but we want to. Products and services should be getting cheaper for the consumers because the technology is getting cheaper. There should be zero charges on transfers and other transactions for personal accounts and this belief is one of the innovative solutions we’re bringing to the table with VDP.money.
Our Mission At VPD Money
At VPD Money, we believe financial services should not limit businesses and individuals’ potential regardless of regional boundaries. VPD.money is financial services and lifestyle app that offers its users money management tools, instant access to a digital wallet and bank account.
We are unifying the wallet and digital banking experience in order to bridge the gap between Africa and the global e-commerce market. Enabling connectivity that drives performance powered by individuals, African & International SMEs, and the diaspora community seeking to trade or complete transactions in or with Africa.
One important element in achieving all of this is team building. Your team must share in your drive. Collectively, we’re working to create value for our customers. To say how successful we have been so far in our mission, I believe success is relative in the first place. But success to me in our mission would be making sure all Africans can make payments everywhere without extortionate charges. The digital bank we’re building will disrupt the entire industry. We’re tackling the problem from the root cause and providing a solution for everyone. I believe Africans themselves must build solutions for their own continent.
There Will Always Be Hurdles
I’ve experienced some failures in the past that taught me important lessons. I once started an online news platform with a friend of mine but we made some mistakes using content we didn’t have the copyrights to. That was a turning point.
In co-founding VoguePay I also had a lot of difficult experiences that have shaped how I approach business today. Entrepreneurs are in the risk business. Setting up a new business is always a risk. Because you’re trying to change the status quo, there will always be obstacles.
Let’s not even talk about the sleepless nights and the mental challenges caused by all the pressure. In my years. I’ve earned millions of dollars and I’ve lost millions too. But it’s that persistence to reach your goals that remains the driving factor.
What We’ve Achieved and What Lies Ahead
I don’t really like to refer to the things we’ve done so far as accomplishments, they’re more like milestones because there’s always more to be done.
We introduced free payment plugins in West Africa and this is a feat I’m quite proud of. I would also say that our growth rate has been amazing since inception. We can attribute a lot of this success to the freedom within the team and how we manage our remote work. Freedom in the workplace brings more productivity. We don’t employ kids, so we place a degree of confidence in our staff to deliver on their duties within set timelines.
The solutions we’re providing unify your personal account with wallet and card usage. Banks shouldn’t just be a place where you save your money and go to sleep. By applying Artificial Intelligence, your banking platform should provide more information for you to make better financial decisions such as investing, discounted prices on products and saving. These solutions analyze your spending patterns and advise you to make smarter financial decisions on your spending.
We’re reducing the cost of the technology and eliminating the need for charges. Moreover, we’re creating a better user experience for the consumer.
Entrepreneurship is a Journey
We’re building partnerships across Africa because we believe strategic partnerships are very important for business. To budding entrepreneurs, I’ll always recommend that you build partnerships where necessary.
It’s also important to get your vision and mission straight so you can find the right people who believe in your message.
Focus and discipline are also key qualities for any entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship isn’t a get rich quick scheme; It’s an arduous journey. However, when you stick to a mission to solve a big problem and build the right team for this, the prospects ahead will always be promising for you.