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Seun Osewa, Nairaland ‘Playing Too Small’

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  • Seun Osewa, Nairaland ‘Playing Too Small’

Nairaland is arguably the biggest African forum and one of the largest online forums in the world, with over 3.2 million topics posted till date, and a preferable platform for about 1.7 million users. It sits atop most African online businesses, this includes Linda Ikeja’s blog, the self-acclaimed Africa’s richest blogger.

However, Nairaland has failed to leverage on its young and enthusiastic diverse community to chart a new course for the seemingly young Nigeria’s developing tech-industry. Ranked 1,000 most visited websites in the world and 8th in Nigeria, Seun Osewa, the CEO and found of Nairaland has not just relegated Nairaland to an ordinary sole proprietor business, but also failed to capitalize on its voluminous database that dated back to 2005, and doubled as the most ‘unique’ unused Nigerian search engine.

Unique in the sense that Nairaland’s database comprises of contents from people that take pride in telling their stories, everyday stories and global happenings through unconventional reporting style, these individuals don’t just tell stories, they validate them with pictures, videos and sometimes links to substantiate their experience during the occurrence as they are sometimes eye witnesses.

Accordingly, these stories alert the authorities, corporations, stakeholders, etc. to the urgency of the matter, therefore, creating an enabling platform for socio-consciousness and community police across the Nigerian Federation. While, also serving as a meeting point for like-minded people.

But over time, Nairaland has been miss-represented or presented as an ordinary forum that can’t create real job, even by its founder. This misconception has limited his vision for Africa’s largest social news aggregation and discussion website.

According to a Seun Osewa comment, after Mark Zuckerberg commends Jobberman Founders “The Jobberman founders deserve to be commended by Zuckerberg because they created a real business employing lots and lots of people and they have an inspiring story that is quite similar to Zuckerberg’s story. I am just a lone geek who runs a web forum. There’s no comparison.”

The quote above gives an insight into his understanding of ‘Nairaland’ as a business. For instance, Reddit is to the U.S, what Nairaland is to Nigeria, but while Reddit has been able to leverage its diverse audience for growth and currently valued at $500 million, with the possibility of going public in 2017. Nairaland is still struggling with the right revenue model and was forced to drop its ads rates by about 40 percent within two years.

Nairaland was founded a mouth before Reddit Inc. was created in April 2005.

This is an indication that advertisers are wary of the platform. The question is how so? Because this is a website that attracts more than 29 million visitors and 170 million page views per month. The answer is simple ‘playing too small’.

Playing Too Small

Perhaps, Linda Ikeji is a perfect example and she is not a programmer, but knows what she wants and constantly searching for talents to help bring her vision to life. This forward thinking has translated into multiple businesses and job creation. While, Nairaland has a broader database built around eyewitness reporting, social networking with a series of wedding testimonies and enthusiastic users, but yet to capitalize on it, Linda Ikeji launched a similar product three weeks ago and already has 150,000 users, almost 10 percent of Nairaland current users. In fact, she was approached by some investors willing and ready to invest as much as $2 million (₦940,000,000) in Linda Ikeji Social this week, a start-up of three weeks. Pushing the limit!

Pushing the limit

Throughout the year, Nairaland has remained the same without a single change or new product. While tech companies are constantly launching new products to retain old users and attract new ones, Nairaland continued to service the same old users with multiple accounts. The truth is Nairaland needs more than Seun Osewa at this stage to maximize its potential, especially in terms of innovation and creativity. It is just a lot for one person.

Brand representation

Nairaland is the first brand in its category with no known face, even the moderators do not know. While, its founder has right to his privacy, users and stakeholders need to know what Nairaland mission and vision are and how Nairaland as a platform can impact their lives. So, someone that shares those values needs to be the brand ambassador and constantly represent Nairaland as a brand. This, will not just introduce nairaland to new users, but strengthen its position as a true brand.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Fintech

TeamApt Transactions Hit N1.4T In May

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TeamApt - Investors King

Nigeria’s one of Nigeria’s leading fintech companies, Teamapt said it transacted N1.4 trillion ($3.5billion) value in 68 million transactions volume in May 2021 on its agency banking platform.

The data sourced from the monthly report of Shared Agent Network Expansion Facilities (SANEF), an initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to promote agency banking and mobile money in the country, shows that Teamapt controls 74 percent of the total agency banking operations within the period.

The company which is currently leading Nigeria’s agency banking industry provides financial services for the underserved mass market through Moniepoint – its financial access product, and Monnify – its payment gateway infrastructure.

At a media briefing on Thursday in Lagos, officials of Teamapt revealing more of its transaction figures and financial performance for the past months said in less than two years, the company has grown rapidly to operate the largest agency banking platform with a network of over 100,000 agents.

In March 2021, it hit a milestone of transactions worth over N1trillion ($2.4bn) for the first time. In May, the value increased to N1.4 trillion ($3.5bn) with 68 million transactions in volume, and between April 2020 and April 2021, the total value of transactions processed has gone up to $16 billion.

Speaking on the company’s plans to transform financial services in Africa, CEO and founder of TeamApt, Mr. Tosin Eniolorunda said “To achieve our mission of providing financial happiness for all, we started out by building working infrastructure and distributing this in every of Nigeria’s 36 states.

“So far, Moniepoint has served over 25 percent of the 48 million banked Nigerians, previously underserved by the financial system. This is a great feat but we still have a lot of work to do. Many Nigerians are still underserved, and with this pain not exclusive to Nigeria but shared among Africans, we intend to scale into more regions of the continent.

“We remain focused on innovating, and we expect that in the future, through Moniepoint, we will reach more people across Africa and build their trust in the financial system and processes. We look forward to empowering our agents with the facilities to offer other financial services directly to customers, beyond deposits and withdrawals,’’ Eniolorunda added.

TeamApt reiterated its commitment to transform financial services in Africa, the company was founded in 2015 and started out by building infrastructure for tier-one financial institutions.

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Fintech

SEC Plans to Launch Regulatory Incubation Programme For Fintechs

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Securities and Exchange Commission- Investors King

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced plans to launch a regulatory incubation (RI) programme for fintech operating or seeking to operate in the Nigerian capital market.

According to a circular published on the commission’s website on Wednesday, June 16, it says that the initiative will be launched in the third quarter of 2021 and will operate by admitting identified fintech business models and processes in cohorts for a one-year period.

The RI program comprises two phases of participation – an initial assessment phase and the regulatory incubation phase.

The SEC said that the categories to be admitted into each cohort will be determined based on submissions received through the fintech assessment form and communicated ahead of each take-off date.

The circular read: “Review of completed Fintech Assessment Forms will continue on an ongoing basis. FinTechs who consider that there is no specific regulation governing their business models or who require clarity on the appropriate regulatory regime for seeking the authorization of the Commission, are encouraged to complete the Fintech Assessment Form.

The commission maintained that it designed the RI program in order to address the needs of new business models and processes that require regulatory authorization to continue carrying out full or ancillary technology-driven capital market activities.

It will serve as an interim measure to aid the evolution of effective regulation which accommodates the innovation by fintech without compromising market integrity and within limits that ensure investor protection.

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Telecommunications

Truecaller Launches Smart SMS Feature in Africa

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Truecaller- Investors King

Truecaller, the world’s most trusted and accurate Caller ID and telephone search engine, is rolling out a new feature to further augment the user experience.

The new feature Smart SMS has been introduced based on user feedback and is designed to cater to the evolving needs of our consumers. It offers a host of new services to make day-to-day communication a lot more convenient.

Smart SMS is powered by state-of-the-art machine learning models that adapt based on the feedback you give it. It supports users with important messages from banks, billers, travel companies, delivery companies and so much more.

Smart SMS also helps users stay protected from spam and fraud. Only the essential information within an SMS is highlighted and all SMS messages are categorised and easily accessible. From keeping track of your expenses to last-minute changes to your travel, Smart SMS is the future of SMS that will make life a whole lot easier.

Commenting on the new addition, Zakaria Abdulkadir Hersi, Director of Business Development & Partnerships Africa at Truecaller said: “Roughly 80% of SMSes one receives daily are from businesses, disengaging users from important/useful messages. To combat that, SMS apps need to become smarter by filtering out spam and categorising useful information.

“At Truecaller, we constantly strive to offer the best user experience by adding unique features that fit in with our core mission: to make communication safer and more efficient for everyone. Truecaller has evolved into a powerful communication hub and for the people who wish to use the app to its fullest, we want to streamline the experience as much as possible for an efficient calling and messaging experience for our end user.”

Truecaller uses the same powerful algorithms used to identify spam callers in SMS as well. The SMS intelligence is built into the app itself and it can work offline – nothing leaves your device, including all OTPs, bank SMSes and financial information.

The feature also offers a Smart Inbox that identifies unknown SMS sender numbers and SMS sender IDs are resolved to business names with logos.

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