LFP237 – Avoiding Operational Challenges in Emerging Markets w/Tosin Eniolorunda CEO Moniepoint

Scaling any successful technology firm (who can expand so much faster than ~”bricks and mortar” firms) involves considerable challenges. These challenges are only compounded by challenges with surrounding infrastructure which, shall we say, aren’t even around the world. What may be taken for granted in the world’s leading tech hubs may be conspicuously absent in many territories. Thus in many ways scaling in emerging markets is the real stress test for an entrepreneurs ability to overcome challenges, internal and external.

Tosin is founder and CEO of Moniepoint, who provide banking platforms, Africaโ€™s largest fintech by transaction volume ($170bn pa) and were recently ranked the second-fastest growing company in Africa by the Financial Times. Based in Lagos Nigeria Tosin has had more than the average entrepreneurs share of challenges dealing not just with scaling a company but scaling it where the ecosystem isn’t entirely ideal.

Topics discussed include:

  • an LFP first – a deep dive into the world of Mortal Kombat ๐Ÿ™‚
  • early motivations in life for a later career in technology
  • maintaining challenges in both video games and ones career
  • Tosin’s career journey
  • considering founding a hardware rather than a software company
  • forming Team APT as a precursor helping banks build their technology
  • moving into software creation
  • pivoting in 2019 to moving to offering the products to consumers as well as banks
  • where the concept of “cottage industries” came from
  • the main differences between infrastructure in say London and emerging markets which lead to greater challenges
  • a Case Study of having to build a card delivery system countrywide from scratch
  • network challenges across a country with much lower bandwidths and more expensive data and the impact of that on tech design
  • challenges of hiring talent at the right cost
  • gaps in skillsets
  • challenges of sometimes having to pay “world class rates” for talent eg abroad
  • the mismatch of international salary rates in such cases versus compared to emerging markets levels of revenue
  • countries Moniepoint have hired in
  • the problems in emerging markets of emigration draining the talent pool – challenges of large levels at both ends of the chain
  • compliance and finance controls
  • challenges Moniepoint met with scaling in these areas and reconciliations – a general problem for all businesses as well
  • regulators playing catch-up
  • “regulation is a control function which is almost opposite to innovation”
  • finding a way to work closely with regulators to ensure they feel comfortable with what you are doing
  • exchange rate challenges
  • problems buying eg point-of-sales terminals at international prices
  • challenges around generating trust in emerging markets – the disconnect between “Low-touch tech” with cultures which generate trust personally
  • bridging that gap
  • “Be paranoid! The Paranoid survive..”
  • a Case Study leading to six months of sleepless nights
  • the impact of the Nigerian Central Banks demonetisation on their business
  • shoutouts for Moniepoint’s products services
  • parallels with Moniepoint in other markets
  • expanding into Kenya and East African countries
  • Moniepoint’s plans, ambitions and investors along with super-impressive staff numbers

And much much more ๐Ÿ™‚

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