Fintechs have the services. Traditional institutions have the channels and customers.
There's an opportunity to work together to get great services to more people.
A long time ago, in a land far far away... Okay scratch that.
For quite a while the digital revolution has been expanding all over the world, and Africa; Nigeria specifically, has not been left out. A lot of creators and teams have been creating innovative new takes on existing services. From simple airtime sales, to payments, to credit, to insurance, to e-commerce and whatnot.
But we noticed what seems like a pattern. Startup launches product to great fanfare. Startup gets some accolades. Startup grows really fast. Then startup hits a distinct userbase of between 200k to 500k, then growth starts to become a struggle.
In the same market(s), we see more established organizations like banks, FMCG, agent networks, Telcos who have already attained user bases in the tens of millions. For these businesses, their customers are asking for more creative and interesting services but they are unable to deliver. Some of this can be attributed to the fact that customers are asking for services that seem to fundamentally affect the bank's business negatively.
For example, imagine a bank that has a savings account product on which it pays an interest of 3% p.a., but a startup offering same savings product for 12%. The bank would not be in a hurry to compete.
Now, imagine if the bank could partner with the same startup and offer the startup's product to its ready customer base. The startup gets a pool of users it can target, and takes the liability responsibility that comes with the deposits, while the bank maintains at least some of the deposit. Win-win-win for all three.
While many banks and startups are exploring collaborations, it's often an implementation headache for a lot of the traditional institutions, especially when they get 2-5 startups with the same product and they'd like to partner with all. Somehow.
With OnePipe, we have gone ahead to partner with as many startups as possible in various product categories from merchant payments to loans, to savings. We have created a standard API schema and protocols for exchange and wrapped it all into one API gateway. We then white-label this gateway for banks to offer those services directly to their customers.
We even help banks with creating unique chatbot channels to deliver same services to their customers as an immediate low hanging fruit while the deeper integrations to their apps, USSD, etc are ongoing.
Our firm belief is that banks and telcos don't have to feel threatend by fintechs (and vice versa), but rather, we all need one another. Banks & Telcos need the products, fintechs need the distribution.
It's still a long road ahead, but we are well on our way...