• Friday, July 19, 2024
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We leverage technology to create efficiencies in any value chain’

We leverage technology to create efficiencies in any value chain’

After a cup of coffee and doughnut at Starbucks in downtown New York, Tosin Thompson said to his childhood friend and confidant, Basheer Tosin Ashafa, “We have talked about things long enough.

It’s time to go back home and do this.” When Tosin Thompson visited Lagos three years earlier, he got repeated requests for soft loans from friends and family to either augment cash flow or scale their business.

With over a decade of experience working in Wall Street, Tosin immediately recognised an opportunity and shared the idea with his friend, Ashafa.

Over the next few days, they would research loan companies like the famous Grameen Bank seeking a model that could fit into the Nigerian business environment.

Unfortunately, they didn’t find any. Two weeks later, Tosin was on a plane back to New York but he never stopped thinking of the opportunity he had spotted.

After three years of researching, planning, and experimenting, Tosin finally seemed convinced that the time to execute this lingering idea had come. Ashafa recalls the look in Tosin’s eyes when he said those words.

“He was like a man under a spell in that very moment and I knew that nothing could stop him,” Olumide said. Not long after, Tosin launched Mezovest.

Mezovest is a fintech lending platform that matches investors with small-medium enterprises through a sophisticated matching model. Mezovest prides itself in creating easy ways for SMEs to access low-interest loans with no collateral online.

Born in 1980, Tosin left Nigeria when he was barely 17 years old to further his education in the United States.

Upon graduation, Tosin secured a job in Wall Street where he has led a remarkably impressive 15-year career working for companies like Bain Capital, CreditSuisse and BNP Paribas. He shares his experience with Seyi John Salau. Excerpts:

Why did you start Mezovest?

My experiences with friends who always seem to need funds to run a business transaction or to scale their business awoken me to the opportunity in loan services.

When you add this to my experience in Wall Street, and my passion to make an impact in sub-Saharan Africa, I saw an opportunity in the credit value chain, where there is a high percentage of unbanked entrepreneurs without access to cheap credit.

How did you go about building Mezovest?

I did it the old fashion way- hard work, belief in the terrain and keeping an open mind to learn. I successfully put together a competent team made up of operational and technical staff, led by a trusted partner who has a unique insight into the industry.

What in your previous experience prepared you for the challenge of running Mezovest?

I studied Management with a concentration in finance. I also spent 15 years on Wall Street, so I’m very verse with complex investment products.

I worked on optimising the execution of financial products on the trading desk and building multimillion-dollar algorithm systems, which is usually a high-pressure environment that depends on speed and low cost of execution. In essence, I’m built for working under high pressure while maintaining cost efficiencies, the kind of skill and temperament you need to succeed in this industry.

What makes Mezovest different and unique? What value does it create for the customer?

We are a commerce solutions company. We provide an ecosystem of technological products to automate the commerce value chain, while providing credit across the value chain for whatever sector we execute in. We differentiate ourselves by bundling solutions across the value chain and not just providing solutions in Silos. Our flagship sector is in the LPG space.

Talking about LPG, there seems to be a convergence between fintech and clean energy in your company. Explain how you are marrying otherwise separate industries?

We are a commerce solutions company first. With technology we create efficiencies in any value chain. However, we saw an immediate opportunity in the LPG (gas) sector, from strategic partnerships we secured largely based on the seriousness of the government to make LPG the staple energy source for cooking and other uses.

Also, the opportunity to create structure in a very unstructured and underbanked retail distribution network was a key motivator. Hence, we launched a digital platform that enables the distribution of LPG (cooking gas) which also provides low-interest loans for both agents and customers.

Read also: “The Potential of Fintech Investments is Limitless – Dr. Yasam Ayavefe

What do you intend to achieve with this convergence and what would the future look like?

We are aligned with the government’s initiative to make clean energy (LPG) the number one source of cooking fuel in this decade. With our technological solutions, physical distribution network, and provision of funding to the gas vendors, we aim to cover the gap and provide clean energy (gas) to the 30 million Nigerian homes that currently don’t have access.

You speak a lot about Fentech. What is Fentech and is that the future?

You mean FINTECH? Lol, you’re right, we coined FENTECH – Finance, energy technology. This captures our business model and what we hope will be the industry standard.

With Mezovest being the flag bearer of a bundled approach to creating a sustainable future for the unbanked, while doing our part in the adoption of clean energy, to make the Earth, our HOME a livable place for the little ones coming behind us.