Dev-XP-Session on Building for Emerging Market.

Chat session for developers, designers and technology enthusiasts on developing products and applications for emerging market consumers.

Wole Faroun

28.06.18

Hello Everyone,

Hi guys, welcome to today's session with @Wole. Our topic today is Building for Emerging Markets. Glad to have you join us.

Can you give us an introduction, what do you do ? A background ?

My name is Wole Faroun. I'm the Founder and CEO at NetPlus. We are a fintech company that started operations in 2012, which is about 6 years ago.

Looking back, we started as a marketplace with WebMall but the business has evolved into a full payment company helping merchants to receive payment online and offline through a suite/portfolio of solutions which we can discuss in details during this session.

My background is technology - i graduated from OAU in 2000 with a BSc. in Computer Engineering and got my MBA in 2008 from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. I worked in banking, technology and oil & gas in Nigeria, in the US and across Europe before starting NetPlus.

Awesome!! This is interesting. Thank you for intro.

Lets get down to the business of today. We have questions from some of our members.

First Question

Our topic is building for emerging market, how does NetPlus do this ?

Well, at NetPlus - we've been looking at solutions simply from a market perspective. While our primary focus is Nigeria, the fact that we are associated with a few global players have made us broaden the scope of our solutions to translate beyond the shores of Nigeria

Specifically, we built a web payment solutions called NetPlusPay and we are solving very specific problems that emerging markets merchants face.

So for example, we know that PoD is an issue with eCommerce merchants in Nigeria so solving that problem here in Nigeria can help solve the same problem across Africa, Middle East, APAC, Cental Europe and even Latin America because the merchants in those regions face the same/similar problems

So we created Debit on Delivery as a feature on NetPlusPay - with this solution, the customer (buyer) can use their card for online transactions but they dont get debited until a successful transaction. For the merchants, they benefit with

1) less cash handling
2) easy reconciliation
3) reduced transaction cancelation
4) increased sales
5) more repeat customers etc

Question

How was scaling for NetPlus ? I assume you have a widespread in sub-sahara africa ?

Yes, the strategy to scale is to work with our partners (banks and card scheme) who have presence in multiple markets. We are already working with 2 banks in Ghana and we expect to continue expansion through that strategy

@somto
How about adoption, getting merchants to use your platform ? You talked about PoD ? how exactly are you addressing that ?

We are trying to build trust through the solution. We want customers to believe that their funds can easily be reversed if anything goes wrong with their transactions. You will be seeing a few major Pilots with some of the leading eCommerce platform over the next few weeks. A major bank is also going to be promoting adoption to their card holders - we hope this can really kickstart adoption in Nigeria and we see how we take it from there.

We also want to work with you guys to integrate with merchants that you are working with so we can all learn from the solution and how we can improve it from a deployment/integration perspective.

Question from @ajay

Why do large companies or products fail in emerging market ? Etisalat, Nokia lumia etc

Large companies always want scale + volume revenue which they get by introducing products/services that are marketable both in developed and emerging markets and you can see the problem - cost, adaptability, usage etc all become problematic.

@ajay
But can u say cost is directly remote to adaptability ?

Not really. Cost is one thing, adaptability (or solving specific pain-points) is another and they often struggle to bridge both

@ajay
Okay thank you.

But developing products just for emerging markets is a bet many of the big guys may not be willing to take because it may not work out from a revenue/profit perspective and that's they try to edge by deploying homgenous products across very different markets - doesnt work well

Question from @zirajauni

What is important factors to consider when building software for enterprise ? and how relevant is the Culture of the market especially when you are scaling to foreign markets ?

Building software for enterprise is interesting, but its structured because you're guided by requirements of that enterprise. They have standards that you must comply with and they are expected to provide guidance/direction throughout your execution. The downside sometime is that you may feel like your creativity is being restricted by those guiding principles. Also if you're building first and selling to enterprise, the same guidelines should be observed, otherwise, selling to enterprises will be difficult.

Culture of the market transalate to consumer behavior and that's everything when it comes to the success of a solution. So yes, its important. But if the solution solves the core pain-point, then it may become easier to make adjustment that makes it easy for foreign market to adopt

Question

What other area of tech do you think would push africa forward ? and whats products do you think are most useful to people ?

I think any technology that drives healthcare, Financial inclusion and low-cost consumer products will thrive in Africa. Now we may use things like ioT, AI, machine learning to push all those verticals but I sincerely believe that we need to improve delivery in those areas because they are of critical need in our part of the World.

Question

How do you deal with tight government regulations ? I am sure fintech is somewhat tight

I think Financial services have always been tightly regulated in Nigeria so we knew that going into the space. We are regulated by the CBN because we have (2) licenses so we understand their requirements. Our biggest challenge with regulation is that it limits revenue and reward for creativity so as an organization, we always strive for new value-add to our solution (outside of stringent regulation) that could help us drive more value for our stakeholders

But we also appreciate regulation because they can potentially reduce loss of value in the market (so we embrace it!)

Question

How is the day to day @ NetPlus ? where are you located ? and are there any openings ?

Busy place to work because we have our hands full with projects. We are always making effort for it to be a great place to work - we have an HR team that is very innovative as they try to accomodate employees' request and we hope we make it to a list of "great places to work'" soon. We are always looking for good people to join the team so please feel free to reach out directly if you're passionate about our space and things that we do

But we also appreciate regulation because they can potentially reduce loss of value in the market (so we embrace it!)

With that we have come to the end of today’s session! Thank you for being here with us @Wole

We will defs be reaching out!

Thanks, everyone for a wonderful session!! Until next time! Do have a wonderful day! 😃

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