Fintech-as-a-Service: Is it a fit for economies at the turn of a decade?
Businesses take time to build and get established off their reputation from the quality of the product or service they provide. Whether they have reliable service delivery with customer service attached to their operations are phased growth for businesses that start from scratch. The longevity of a business and whether it stays, thrives or busts in African markets, considering an African context are numerous given the numerous reasons why individual countries in Africa are different. Different from one another in regards to growth, economy size, population demographics, eco-political blockers and opportunities.
A good example of one of the reasons why fintechs are a good fit for African Markets in a turning decade during a global pandemic is the attempt to revolutionises a system or technique that is not broken and has been done a certain way for years on end. For some countries, since independence years when liberation struggles were a common occurance, year after year.
The burden of carrying the token title of being ‘the first’ to do something weighs in on a lot of character traits such as perseverance, tenacity, confidence in the quality and service being provided, etc.
Not to mention; getting over that initial hump requires research on whether the gap in the market even has demand. This is one of the determining factors that indicates whether any new business is able to come back from set backs.
Would customers even want the product?
This particular question and the numerous questions that need answers before a company or individual begins rolling out and testing products in a market has a risk associated to it. There is a lot of work, time and investment in terms of intangibles like talent, collaboration and general flexibility from a team for the realisation of a dream or idea to end up at the end stage of arrival into a market.
Technology can shorten the time lag gap between market feedback and product delivery. A general pipeline or system that has a provision for entrepreneurs, business owners, product owners and researchers with ideas into a market has a couple of essential ingredients for it to work. The end point of a product reaching it’s end user or target audience has a number of steps and essential milestones from a business process that requires knowledge and expertise. Some specialisation for some skills and some generalisation for others is essential for a product to have the appeal it requires for the reach of sustainable placement in a market.
Fin-tech is no stranger to that; being able to come up with the beautiful blend of financial services (such as credit or lending, insurance, payments, investment, etc.) merged with technology is one of the milestones to consider. Another is streamlining the process of access to these services with reliable technology. This is a hard concept, with multiple layers of complexity and is where any product or new business needs to optimise on from a business point of view. Businesses use outlier’s or case studies to pick up on how peculiar or unusual practices are used and drove change or disruption in a market. Whether they had up-sides or down-sides to their conduct of business, the application of whether these outlier’s solve a market problem or their provision to seemingly taken on, utilise and maximise on expansion and retention of their client-base is what makes any ‘David and Goliath story’ worth its tale.
Provided the trends in recent years, fintech startup have seen a rise in venture capital investments in Africa from the year 2018 to date, more people have seen and want to cash in on this new gold-rush. This trend has continued to see a rise through 2020, branching into different financial service streams and provision for growth is lifted off government implemented bottlenecks to startup teams. Market opportunity and avenue for growth is the biggest challenge that bridges the link between company or product performance and investors and share holders. African markets and their volatility; is honestly what keeps people up at night, especially lenders and investors.
However, the recognition of potential for a product, service or application in a growing market is untapped. There is opportunity to make the most of frictionless implementation of working systems from developed markets to African markets. Products and applications are being applied to markets that have 66% of adult individuals not utilising the traditional brick and water financial systems in place. From my experience, this includes and bottles down to the growing demographic of millennials around the world. This disrupts our markets on the regular, and call me an optimist if you wish, I’d latch my own hopes, dreams and bets onto that that kind of growth and potential any day.
The reason for this opinion is simple; a vast number of people in African markets receive cash payments to semi-formalised payment streams. Therefore, the market share and customers do exist, especially in 2020 during a speed hump or economic slow-down catalysed by a global pandemic. As long as there are problems to be solved, and people who wish to be included in the participation of a market there will be a market opportunity and share for investors, business owners and entrepreneurs to capitalise on.