Enabling Business Growth Through Tech
Meet Dolapo Adejuyigbe, an ex McKinsey Consultant and Co-founder of Traction Apps, a startup that helps small businesses manage operations through technology.
What is Traction Apps?
Traction Apps is an all in one platform for SMEs in Nigeria and emerging markets to manage, run and grow their business. We are focused on aggregating offline payment options and additional tools like invoicing and inventory management for SMEs.
What’s your background and previous company?
I worked at McKinsey as a consultant for 7 years and I was very focused on Africa and the Middle East, essentially emerging markets. Over the last ten years, I’ve been very focused on financial inclusion specifically around SMEs. Spent most of my time in Nigeria, South Africa, and the Middle East.
How did you meet your co-founder?
I met my co-founder Mayowa Alli at McKinsey. We were both consultants, we were both passionate about enabling SMEs, having both worked across multiple sectors who continue experiencing pain points in engaging with SMEs as partners and customers. We believed our complementary skills and experience led to a logical decision to build something together
What’s it like running a startup?
There actually isn’t a moment where I think Traction Apps isn’t what I’m meant to be doing. Building a startup requires mental strength but as someone who came from a consulting background, that next level, problem-solving, focused on growth is something that I’ve taken with me. So growing and seeing that constant growth in employees, customers, revenues has been very fulfilling. One of the things that drove me to branch out was essentially building a culture of people who are committed to growing, so that has also been exciting to shape at Traction.
How will you describe Nigeria’s Payment Market?
Nigeria’s payment market is super interesting. Having studied other markets, Nigeria is one of the most regulated and relatively structured markets in emerging markets, while still significantly cash-based. While we have made strides in online payments, I still believe there is a significant opportunity to improve the offline payment systems – card payment, bank transfer and USSD, both from a customer and merchant experience point of view. 2 examples come to mind, the card terminals market is still very underserved, while there are numerous stakeholders needed to just execute on a single transaction, and when one of these stakeholders is down the whole transaction fails.
What gaps exist in the Nigerian Fintech space?
We’ve seen innovation across P2P, open and digital banking, savings, agency banking startups thrive in recent times. However it would still be super interesting to see microinsurance and more wealth management solutions to come to the fore – all in all within the B2C space there needs to be more solutions for the mass consumers. I think from a B2B point of view and what I mean by B2B, in this case, is like SMEs focused fintech solutions, I think there’s still a gap. We’re a market that has tens of millions of MSMEs and I would say about 5 million are formal and semi-formal SMEs. Where I think the opportunity lies is in the aggregation, it’s not just enough to introduce products but how you put all that together for customers to have a good sense of what’s happening.
What are some lessons you’ve learnt while building Traction?
I have learnt that in general building a business is very much art, but there are non-negotiables. My top 4 non-negotiables include 1) Focus on the people – for me, it’s the realization that you need to hire well and invest in people. 2) Never lose focus on cash flow, and the need to assess every Naira spent and what the ROI is, and 3) Need to provide systems for a transparent communication culture for both internal and external stakeholders and 4) Need to instil the culture of learning, experimenting and iterating.
Where do you see Traction in 5 years?
I see Traction Apps being in multiple markets within and outside of Africa. Being a name that SMEs and businesses can associate with. A platform that aggregates a lot more services for merchants.
What’s your favourite movie and why?
My favorite movie is Dead Poets Society (yes I love dramas than comedy), the reason why I love this movie is that it shows how one person can have an influence on people and shape culture, which has been something I aspire to always do