Investors are largely interested in finance and finance-related solutions because of its centrality to society. This was one of the resolutions established at a panel held on July 28, the fourth day of the Lagos Startup Week with thought leaders including Olu Akanmu, co-CEO of OPay, and Nefe Etomi, strategy and finance specialist at Paystack.
Speaking on the theme, “Building The Next Billion,” the panel spoke extensively on the future of the Nigerian & African Tech Ecosystem and how with innovation, the ecosystem can evolve for the better.
“Getting a loan was very difficult as it took time for the bank to do their due diligence. Around the 2000s, the introduction of the internet and the proliferation of mobile phones precipitated the need for the finance ecosystem to change. Access to money had to improve and become faster due to its direct impact on people,” Tolulope explained on how technology evolved and created the need for a change in the finance ecosystem.
Although technology is no longer an industry, but rather the underlying driver of change and innovation for every business everywhere including Africa, it is therefore important to have a mutually respectful relationship with regulators.
However, one of the things we should do in tech is engage our regulators more with an open mind, according to Olu Akanmu, noting that Founders, we should deal with regulators with more emotional intelligence. This Nefe Etomi agreed with, saying, “You need to tread carefully with regulators especially if you intend to operate in multiple countries because if you mess up in one country, it can affect entry into another.”
Also agreeing with the panel, Tolulope added that banking and finance have always been regulated; you will always have a regulator and you are not more powerful than your regulators. Understanding that from day one even at your conception stage helps you to think about creative ways to engage your regulators and how to communicate properly. This the relationship with the regulators has significantly improved in Nigeria. The manner of approach is very key, you have to take them through the product, the building process and how the market is using this technology.
Asides from featuring on the panel, headline sponsor, Branch, showcased its investment products to attendees. The attendees were able to download the Branch app and set up an account which gives them access to loans of up to N500,000 and investment opportunities at their fingertips.
Osindero, head of legal and compliance at Branch, writes from Lagos