Andrew Takyi-Appiah, the co-founder of Zeepay, shared tips on building a successful fintech business. This he did during the Ghana Fintech Outlook 2021. The event sought to educate the Ghanaian masses on the importance of collaboration within the ecosystem and transform the financial status of Ghana through digitalisation.
Founded in 2014, Zeepay focuses on digital rails to connect digital assets such as Mobile Money Wallets, Cards, ATMs, Bank Account and Digital Tokens to International Money Transfer Operators, Payments, Subscriptions, International Airtime and Refugee payments. To improve financial inclusion and make the world a better place to live, the fintech acts as a Mobile Financial Services Company with offices worldwide, including the United Kingdom, regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and other Regulators across Africa.
As an expert on Banking and Mobile Payments; with over 15 years of experience in Banking and Business Development, this is what Andrews had to say:
Appreciating the valley of death
“If you do not know the valley of death and what it entails, you can never come out of it”, Andrews stated. He also mentioned that most startups are desperate to see the end and fail to appreciate the beginning hence the valley of death. The valley of death in the startup world is that phase where the company has commenced operations but is yet to make any money.
At this point, the startup will have found a product-market fit and launched its minimum viable product. During this phase, net cash flows dip to dangerously low levels, while at the same time, the startup has just kicked off production and introduced the product to the market. Activities such as prototyping, establishing partners, and payroll have already started to deplete the company’s funds.
According to the fintech giant, 99% of startups die during this phase, and only 1% escape the valley. Emerging out of the valley is all about finding a way to bridge the gap between early proof of concept and market feasibility and break even. Additionally, startups have to be careful about budgets and account for any emergency cash fund. To do this, he urged fintechs to do away with premium pricing— the practice of keeping the price of one of the products or services artificially high to encourage favourable perceptions among buyers based solely on the price.
Collaborative thinking and partnerships
The Zeepay founder also highlighted the need for collaborative thinking and partnerships. “Once you set off to disrupt, there is another startup seeking to disrupt, hence the need for collaborations.” Successful and strategic alliances give way to the launch of new products and services, innovation of existing products and new markets and revenue streams.
Nigerian fintechs have done so well in disrupting the sector because they have learned the art of collaboration. For instance, Flutterwave’s partnership with Alipay to offer digital payments between Africa and China, Paystack’s partnership with WooCommerce to make purchasing seamless in Africa, Carbon’s collaboration with Visa to provide both digital and physical issuance of Visa cards to its customers, amongst others.
A 2019 fintech adoption study found that 64% of digitally active consumers had adopted one or more fintech services. This was because most financial brands were struggling with consistency which impacted consumers’ trust and loyalty. The underlying struggle for these fintech businesses meant that they had to increase their marketing efforts and enhance their products to stay ahead of the competition. This meant more money and resources.
Per this study, success will only come to businesses that can remain and deliver consistent experiences. Consistency ensures that your brand is easily recognisable across all marketing channels and touchpoints. Consistency gives room for accountability, establishes your reputation, makes you relevant, and maintains your message.
Have a playbook
A playbook defines who you are. It gives a clearer picture of your business and helps streamline your services to reach bigger audiences. A playbook is a material that contains all the pieces and parts that make up your company’s procedure for getting things done. According to Accenture, a playbook includes “process workflows, standard operating procedures, and cultural values that shape a consistent response—the play. A playbook reflects a plan; an approach or strategy defining predetermined responses worked out ahead of time.”
Credit: Digital Times Africa