Nigeria currently has the largest population in Africa (178 million people), the largest economy on the continent (nominal GDP) and 25 million active cell phone users. All these factors point to the very obvious fact that Nigeria is developing at a very unprecedented rate. Despite this, the mobile money and e-payment sector has remained largely neglected by Nigerians and international interested parties. However as of January 2013 this was no longer the case as SimplePay was born; an online platform comparable to PayPal but tailored specifically to the Nigerian market.The founder, Simeon Ononobi was a frustrated entrepreneur who wanted to start an e-commerce store, realized that it costs Nigerian merchants $3,000 to enable them to receive payments from debit cards. It just makes sense to explore this wide gap in the market.
In February of this year the company led byOnonobi made 2nd place at the annual Seed Stars competition in Geneva, they walked away with $300,000. Ever since then the money has just kept pouring in, resulting in more than 10,000 registered users. These people have signed on or use the platform because they feel that SimplePay tackles their concerns of security, and keeping private safe. Ever since the win in Geneva the company has attracted attention from local and international investors who are willing to spend hard cash on the ground breaking start up. This includes the Italian investment conglomerate and
the CBO group which has put $2 million on the table. For a company that only exists for two years, this is nothing short of remarkable.
Moving forward the only piece of advice I can give Simeon and his team is that they should not get over-excited about all the attention they are receiving and lose sight of their vision. This is a common mistake with many African Start-ups as they grow they begin to cater to the demands of their investors or ‘infesters’ instead of what they want to do. However if SimplePay continues to provide their customers with the same quality as they have been, then they should remain on track.
Photo Credits: Ventures-Africa, Howwemadeitinafrica.com