Sparkle launched in the fourth quarter of 2019 by offering a personal account that lets individuals save, manage personal finances and send payment requests with one link.
In the period since, the startup claims to have more than 20,000 customers and processed $16m in transactions. Now, they are taking their journey a step further with small and medium scale businesses in Nigeria, by offering a suite of digital payments and business management services.
Uzoma Dozie, the founder and CEO, says the plan for the new product is to provide “a one stop shop, to help individuals to launch their businesses digitally, while meeting existing SMEs’ pain points, and allowing them to pivot to the next level of success.”
“We have been afforded this opportunity due to our extensive research and access to data, which allows us to know what exactly SMEs are looking for. We are truly excited about the initial results from the beta test and are looking forward to impactful results for small businesses in the near future.”
Sparkle for business will have four main components, according to the company; inventory and invoice management; payment gateway service; tax advisory; payroll and employee management.
Taken together, the new rollout is designed for small business owners who are familiar with digital platforms. The pitch is to help such entrepreneurs control payment requests, manage single and bulk payments, track business performance, calculate tax filings and administer employee benefits.
Sparkle users will find the services on the existing mobile app, though it is only for those who have registered businesses in Nigeria. New users are required to have a Tax Identification Number and an email address connected to the number.
The team at Sparkle love to emphasise that they are more than a digital bank or a mobile app. “We are not a bank, we are a tribe,” is the screaming slogan on their landing page. They hope to be at the intersection between individuals’ and small businesses’ finance and lifestyle aspirations.
In theory, that means relying heavily on data from the user’s behaviour and broader industry trends to recommend what might be suitable for each unique user. But as with other digital-only financial services solutions in Nigeria, Sparkle is still on a product-market fit journey and it is still unclear when any of the contenders will attain that height.
Dozie says Sparkle’s mission is to “allow individuals to be free,” a mission that is not unlike another Nigerian digital bank Kuda.
Dozie was the last CEO of Diamond Bank before it was bought by Access Bank almost exactly two years ago. The bank was known for experimenting with technological leaps in customer delivery. With Sparkle, the first-time startup founder’s agenda is to create a technology-first environment that challenges the banking status quo.
“We’re excited to roll out our new products and services, and to continue to grow an increasingly busy and entrepreneurial group of business owners who don’t want to accept that banking halls and physical paper trails are the only means of conducting business in Nigeria,” Dozie said.
Microsoft Overtakes Apple to Become World’s Most Intangible Company
Every year, the Brand Finance Global Intangible Finance Tracker (GIFT™) report ranks the world’s largest companies by intangible asset value.
This year’s number one company in terms of total estimated intangible value is Microsoft (US$1.90 trillion), which has jumped from 4th position in 2020 to overtake Apple (US$1.87 trillion), Saudi Aramco (US$1.64 trillion), and Amazon (US$1.47 trillion).
Microsoft Teams has become embedded into business life for global organisations, once again proving the value of Microsoft’s ability to innovate and roll-out at scale. Microsoft is investing heavily in its business suite solutions. Although Apple is the more valuable company by approximately $200 billion, Microsoft is estimated to have more intangible value with its portfolio of brands and business operations.
Intangible assets are identifiable, non-monetary assets without physical substance. Intangible assets can be grouped into three broad categories – rights (including leases, agreements, contracts), relationships (including a trained workforce), and intellectual property (including brands, patents, copyrights).
Intangible assets boom during COVID-19 pandemic
Over the past year in particular, global intangible asset value has grown faster than usual, and at $74 trillion it exceeds pre-pandemic levels by nearly a quarter, having increased 23% compared to $61 trillion in 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated even further the importance of people, innovation, reputation, and brand for businesses all around the world. Intangible assets are now unequivocally a boardroom priority.
Increases through the pandemic were primarily fuelled by the growth of the world’s largest organisations which were resilient to investor uncertainty due to their scale and their focus on technologies which we continued to rely on through lockdowns. This year, growth has been driven by China and the USA, with several industries recovering from the downturn in 2020.
David Haigh, Chairman & CEO, Brand Finance Plc, commented: “In times of crisis, brands – especially those most valuable and strongest in their categories and markets – become a safe haven for capital. Like gold or fine art during past economic downturns, nowadays well-managed, innovative, and reputable brands are what the global economy turns to in the hour of need. There can be no better evidence for why brands matter than the role they have already played and will continue to play in the post-COVID recovery.”
Global intangible value grows by over 1000% in 25 years
25 years ago – when Brand Finance was established – global intangible assets were worth only an estimated $6 trillion, less than a tenth of the same value today. As of September 2021, global intangible assets are worth over $74 trillion. This is a 1145% growth over 25 years – approximately 11% per annum.
Annie Brown, Associate at Brand Finance, and author of the GIFT™ report, commented: “It is a pivotal moment in financial reporting for intangibles. Total estimated intangible value has grown by over 1000% in the past 25 years. At the same rate, total global intangible value could stand at over $1 quadrillion by 2050 (that is $1,000,000,000,000,000). As investors grapple with balancing various issues such as Climate Change and ESG over the coming years, it is essential that the data they need to understand these vast sums is readily available.”
Internally generated intangibles should be recognised in financial reports
The majority of intangible assets are not recognised, due to the limitations set by the financial reporting rules, which state that internally generated intangible assets such as brands cannot be disclosed in a company balance sheet.
David Haigh, Chairman & CEO, Brand Finance Plc, commented:
“Investors should not be deprived of this critical information. Intangible assets such as strong, valuable brands and innovative technology can be the differentiators that drive a $2 billion company to $2 trillion in 25 years – as witnessed with Apple. This information vacuum for investors is part of the reason why Brand Finance endeavours to estimate the extent of “undisclosed intangible value” in our GIFT™ study each year.”
To truly aid investors and provide them with useful information, we believe management should be allowed and required to:
- Identify the key intangibles of the entire business – both internally generated and acquired.
- Provide an opinion on the value of those intangibles in the notes to the financial statements.
- Provide an opinion of the overall business value at the reporting date, to help investors to understand whether or not their capital is allocated efficiently.
Kevin Prall, Technical Director, International Valuation Standards Council (IVSC), commented: “Despite the importance of intangible assets to the capital markets, only a small percentage are recognised on balance sheets, typically via acquisition from a third-party transaction. The pandemic has further exacerbated the disparity between market values and book values for those industries most reliant on brands, technology, and human capital for value creation. The IVSC supports Brand Finance, and all others, that look to make progress on this most critical issue.”
FrieslandCampina Re-Launches Olympic, Coast Milk Brands
FrieslandCampina WAMCO, Nigeria’s foremost dairy company and makers of Peak and Three Crowns milk, has re-launched Olympic, Coast, and Nunu milk brands into the Nigerian market through the ‘Word twist’ campaign.
The new ‘Word twist’ campaign requires consumers to compose meaningful sentences with Coast, Olympic, and Nunu for a chance to win fantastic prizes.
For example, “You can now Coast to natural goodness like the fastest man alive cruises to Olympic medals with one Nunu milk a day in your meal.”
Omolara Banjoko, marketing manager, FrieslandCampina disclosed that the campaign became necessary following FrieslandCampina WAMCO’s acquisition of PZ Nutricima and its brands; Olympic, Coast, and Nunu.
“These brands have an existing portfolio across different formats with varied strengths in the different regions of the country. Hence, with this campaign, we plan to strengthen the perception of the brands leveraging FrieslandCampina WAMCO’s strong heritage” Banjoko said.
She further explained that FrieslandCampina is committed to bringing affordable and readily available quality dairy products to Nigerians and with the acquisition, it will be able to meet the growing demands of its consumers.
“Coast Milk promises natural goodness and therefore it is a perfect match that will work well with consumers who wish to stick to natural-made products.
“Adults have a myriad of responsibilities to attend to daily and with Olympic milk, they are assured of getting the right nutrients that will cater to their energy needs and active lifestyle,” she said.
“Nunu offers nutrient-rich milk that can conveniently be used by consumers and businesses looking to upgrade their everyday meal and intermediate products. Olympic, Nunu, and Coast milk are back like they never left and we encourage people to look out for the brands in their neighborhood” Banjoko added.
Boomplay Partners with Airtel Nigeria, Offers Affordable Music Streaming Service
Africa’s leading streaming platform, Boomplay and telecommunications leading telecommunications services provider, Airtel Nigeria, have announced a strategic partnership that will offer subscribers access to more affordable streaming on Boomplay.
The Airtel-Boomplay partnership rides on the Airtel Streaming Data Plan, this will give music lovers the opportunity to save more on streaming data cost, as music lovers will enjoy 500MB exclusive data for spending only N100.
While unveiling the new partnership, General Manager, Boomplay Nigeria, Oladele Kadiri, affirmed the company’s commitment of making music more accessible, stating that, “We are very optimistic about the partnership with Airtel, which will enhance music streaming and downloading for our users, through affordable data packages, while also cementing the business relationship between the two companies.”
Commenting on the partnership, Airtel Nigeria’s Chief Commercial Officer, Dinesh Balsingh, said Airtel is delighted to offer a platform that will connect more Nigerians to the music they love at a much more affordable cost.
“At Airtel, we are always exploring opportunities that will make life better and more enjoyable for our valued customers. With this partnership with Boomplay, music lovers need not worry about exorbitant streaming cost as we have simplified the experience and made it much more affordable for everyone.”
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