What next for Africa's fintech start-ups?
According to attendees of the recent Africa Technology Summit (ATS), hosted by the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) there is still space for more startups to launch within the African fintech space.
It was highlighted that there are a number of new accelerators and VC funds specifically targeting innovations in the space but, according to the panellists, there is still plenty of room for more companies to enter the scene.
Bunmi Akinyemiju, chief executive officer (CEO) of Venture Garden Group, a holding company for a group of different fintech entities, said: “Point of sale is changing very fast, especially on mobile, giving the merchant options to make more money.
“We think with time there will be a person on every corner of the street with an agent, for you to be able to do business the old way, but in a way that is very effective and innovative,” he said.
Vahid Monadjem, CEO of South Africa-based enterprise payments platform provider Nomanini, said: “We need more collaborations to grow because our services are quite unique from each other.”
Akinyemiju added: “It is about trust and if it is so fragmented as it now it limits the success rates. The other side is you need to pay from various sources, so the coexistence of these players being able to communicate with their systems fosters the ecosystem because transactions happen on different platforms.”
“We mostly think about the consumer side but there is a big space for B2B and we would like to see more innovations coming up in these areas,” he said.
Saqib Nazir, CEO of electronic payments platform Interpay Africa, said: “Creating a solution for people to accept payments quickly to enable transactions and commerce to happen. That is where we see the trends.
“A lot of payments are already in digital format, especially remittances. The challenge is in the transactions from person-to-person and the daily demands of commerce, Most of them are in cash and getting it into digital is a growing area.”
SOURCE: [Disrupt Africa]
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.