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‘We’ve created innovative means to fund ideal needs’

Mr. Bayo Adeokun is the founder/CEO of Electronic Payplus (E-Payplus), a fully owned Nigerian company and smart card and solution provider. In this interview, he…

Mr. Bayo Adeokun is the founder/CEO of Electronic Payplus (E-Payplus), a fully owned Nigerian company and smart card and solution provider. In this interview, he spoke about Quickraiz, and how it has redefined crowdfunding in Nigeria.

 

What do you do at E-Payplus?

We produce what people call ATM cards, Smart Identity Cards and Residency cards, among others. We also have payment solutions and other solutions within the payment sector. What we try to do is to identify problems and then use technology to provide solutions. That was what led to the birth of Ativo Limited, a subsidiary of E-Payplus, which is into crowd funding.

E-Payplus will be 15 years old by April next year (2020), which means we have been around for a while. As is popularly said, the average age for a Nigerian company to survive is about five years, but like I said we would be 15 soon. It has been tough, we all know that the business environment in Nigeria is not easy and friendly at all – you don’t get any leverage from the government, as you do everything yourself.

When we started the payment technology sector over 15 years ago, people thought that there was no way an ATM could work in Nigeria, in fact, the whole idea before was that armed robbers will break it and take all the money, to the extent that when banks started approaching Visa and Master cards, they didn’t want to come to Nigeria, but some people took the bull by the horn, set up the structure and they have created a whole lot of value chain and we are where we are today.

 

You run Quickraiz, a fundraising solution. How does it work?

Quickraiz is a product of Ativo Limited and like I said earlier, Ativo is a subsidiary of E-Payplus Limited while Quickraiz is the pioneer product pushed into the market to fill a vacuum in Africa’s fundraising ecosystem with focus on crowdfunding.

Quickraiz is a market place or a platform that brings together people that need help and people that are willing to help by providing solutions.

Today, when somebody needs help, either educationally or health-wise among others, people come together using WhatsApp or Facebook platforms to raise some funds for the person. As a result of this, we then started thinking about bringing technology in to bear on this and to make it easier, more transparent and accessible for people. So, we created the platform called Quickraiz. It was launched into the Nigerian market in July 2018.

Crowdfunding and the process is all about enabling crowd to donate to your cause, whatever it is. However, it is not that the platform has money to give you; you then have to work among your network by sharing your campaign, so codes will be generated once you launch the campaign and you will share. Our marketing and sales team will help the campaigner share those campaign codes among our database and work with you alongside your own sphere of influence.

 

How acceptable has Quickraiz been in Nigeria?

Well, let me start by saying that we are a member of the African Crowdfunding Association. However, this is new in Nigeria and Africa so to say. If you go abroad, there is what is called ‘Go Fund Me’ and a couple of others, but a lot of Nigerians know about Go Fund Me than they know our own Quickraiz. Like I said earlier, we are just one year old and we are trying to change the mentality of Nigerians.

There have been lots of challenges among which is trust element. As things are with Nigerians, trust is an issue, as people think that we are a Ponzi scheme, MMM or fraudsters. So we have to create and build that trust in Nigerians that this is real and genuine; nothing hidden.

 

What is the place of accountability in the platform?

When we were building the platform, because we are from Nigeria, we know how a typical Nigerian thinks about something new, so we were fully prepared. We have built accountability into the platform. It is self-serviced, so you can do a whole lot of things on your own. Like I said earlier, as a campaign owner, you can view everything that is going on your campaign. As a donor (public or private campaign), you can also view who and who is monitoring what, where the money is and how it is being spent by the man that requested for the money.

By the way, once you raise your campaign, you can request for your payment, either via a prepaid card or bank transfer. So, for instance, let’s say among my friends, I want to get married and I need money, so they donate and I asked Quickraiz to give a debit card, which I can use at any of our registered merchants, where you get a discount for using any of them. Then, as you are swiping and spending on your card, people that donated can see how you are spending that money contributed.

So, we are very transparent and accountable.

How many people have benefitted from the platform?

In the last one year, about 3,000 campaigns have been launched. The success rates have differed over the period of time depending on the campaign owner. Some have actually raised 120-150% of what they were hoping to launch the campaign for, while some have only been able to raise 10%. It varies, but we have had some fantastic campaigns in the past.

Today we have close to 5,000 users registered on the campaign and for donors, we have close to 4,000 people that have donated to one campaign or the other in the last one year. So, for a new concept and sector just emerging in the Nigerian market, I see that as a progress achieving this number in the first year of operation, but like I said, the market is huge.

 

What are the other challenges for the fundraising platform?

Well, it’s a couple of challenges that we are facing in the last one year. Again, because of the kind of environment we are in, for instance as a campaigner with need and you have come to the platform that you want Nigerians to help you, but you don’t want your own sphere of influence to know that you are raising a fund; that can’t be understandable, but that is the way some campaigners think and so they assume that once they launch it, it’s up to Quickraiz to go and get them money.

 

For beneficiaries, are they expected to pay back?

There is a fee for this. Probably, for the service we are offering, we have employed people, we have spent money developing the platform, continuously we are maintaining it and all of that; there is a fee for all of these. Depending on the nature of the campaign, we charge between three to five percent of the total amount raised, which is stated on the platform for you to read. Though, the charges come after the campaign but before payout.

 

How secured is the platform?

Like I said earlier, security is key for us on Quickraiz, as we are high on security; that is why we took those certifications.

We have invested in them because of our background; don’t forget I told you that Electronic Payplus is a smart card service provider, working for about 15 banks, producing what Nigerians call ATM cards for the banks, with track records. We also personalize it by putting customer’s name on the cards to enable it work on the ATM and POS. These backgrounds are what we have brought to bear in Quickraiz; we know about payment securities.

 

Are you launching new products anytime soon?

Well, there are so many products in the up front and one of them is almost completed and will be launched into the market very soon. Ativo Limited is a technology arm of Electronic Payplus, and there are so many problems in Nigeria that can be solved via technology and that is the focus of Ativo.

 

What is your advice to Nigerians on Quickraiz?

Well, it is just to let Nigerians know that there are challenges. We have created a platform where a man with a need can meet a man that is compassionate to solve the need. This platform works, it is genuine, secured and transparent. It is not run by fraudsters, like I said Electronic Payplus has been doing business in Nigeria for 15 years working with Nigerian banks and have produced about 90 million cards.

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