The Co-founder of Zoto, Oshone Ikazoboh gained most of his entrepreneurial experience early on, from starting up IT companies that managed and completed several projects for some major clients including Afrinvest and Nigerian Stock Exchange.
Following that, he was part of the team that set up Naij.com and grew it as CEO to a certain height before moving ahead to focus on a couple of other projects, including co-founding Zoto, a product of Hedonmark Management Services Limited and Nigeria’s fastest growing payment solution.
In continuation of our last week’s publication of TechEconomy.ng’s chat with Ikazoboh, he discusses issues around connectivity, startups and growing business in Nigeria. Excerpt.
Slow internet speed is one key issue in establishing ‘Connectivity’ related business in Nigeria? Are factors like power cuts, limited coverage of broadband services problems for desktop based online payment solutions?
Increasing smartphone penetration and affordability of device and mobile data has enabled Nigerians to pay through their mobile anywhere, anytime. We think growth in the payments industry will come through mobile as we see. Nigeria has world class network providers and connectivity services will only improve in future as well. Meanwhile we have devised new ways to deal with connectivity issues with Zoto wallet.
Zoto uses a stored value account that lets a user pay for anything in less than 10 secunlike payments based on OTP bases authentications. In case any connectivity issues arises in the middle of any payment, Zoto ensures it either gets resolved in record time or the money is instantly refunded in users wallet.
What are your expansion plans to other African countries?
Zoto is a Nigerian home grown company built keeping in mind the challenges of Nigerians. The market is very bigand full of many opportunities for us hence we will be focusing on Nigeria only for now. We have only marketed Zoto in Lagos till date that is where more than 80% of our users are from. The learning and product can be easily replicated for West African countries in near future for expansion.
In near future we plan to expand vertically and horizontally both by adding more categories and increasing merchant numbers in each category which will help us provide better payment experience to our users and make us an indespenceble channel for payments. We also plan to disrupt merchant payments, credit ecosystem, P2P transfers and other financial service categories in years to come.
How would you review startup ecosystem in Nigeria: where are we getting it right and where do we need to address?
Nigeria’s increasing smartphone penetration and falling internet cost have created a space for businesses to grow and flourish. It has birthed several e-commerce companies like Jumia and Konga and startups like iROKO that are getting stronger day by day. Nigeria remains Facebook’s biggest market in Africa and Google services like maps are becoming popular day by day. All these factors make Nigeria a favorable startup destination with more than $109 million start-up funding raised in 2016.
However, Nigeria needs to address its infrastructural limitations and income inequity if it wants its startup ecosystem to grow and flourish. The average Nigerian gets only a few hours of electricity every-day, which adds up to the cost of doing business in Nigeria.
According to a report the lack of electricity adds up to 40% of the cost of doing business in the country. Income inequity is high with more than 140 million living on $2 per day. This has to be addressed because it is the middle class that makes or breaks startups in any economy.
Do you intend applying for agency banking license from the CBN?
Zoto is authorized for mobile banking service by CBN, it is just a matter of time when we see the market being favorable and we establish the tech to revolutionize the banking and financial inclusion space.