Agency banking stands at the forefront of Nigerians drive towards financial inclusion. TeamApt, a Nigeria fintech Headquartered in Lagos has revealed that it is leading the country’s agent banking business with its network of over 100,000 agents.
At a media event this Thursday, the Founder and CEO of the startup, Tosin Eniolorunda, shared the company’s journey to the top of the industry. He also revealed that TeamApt is targeting the envied status of a billion-dollar startup in the coming months.
Founded in 2015 by several breakout employees of Interswitch, TeamApt initially started by building digital banking solutions for banks.
Between 2015 and 2018, it was mainly a premier software company that built digital banking solutions like Web or Mobile apps for banks like Sterling Bank, FCMB, Zenith Bank, First bank amongst others.
The CEO, Tosin Eniolorunda explained that this was because it had the ability and skills that most banks did not have then to build their digital solutions.
Between 2015 to 2018 literarily most of the banks were our customersTosin Eniolorunda, CEO of TeamApt
By the end of 2018, the fintech processed an average of $160 million transactions per month by supporting the operations of 26 banks.
In 2019, the company pivot quietly into building direct financial services for consumers and agents. TeamApt built its agency banking solution called Moniepoint as well as a payment solution called Monnify.
Tosin explained that the experience the company had gained and gathered over the years building for banks gave it a deeper understanding of the market and what people needed.
He added that the company wanted to provide Nigerians with better banking services by filling some of the gaps in the industry.
“Now, the company has a workforce of 300 employees and 1,000 plus contractors dedicated towards our mission of helping people find financial happiness,” he said.
Market leaders of Nigeria’s agent banking sector?
Speaking at the media briefing, Tosin revealed that Moniepoint has over the years grown stealthily into the largest agency network in the country.
He explained that this was intentional.
“This is a market that had the likes of Firstmonie, Paga, OPay. So between 2019 and now, we grew our solution to become the largest in the industry. We process about N1.4tr monthly across about 68 million transactions through 100,000 agents that are distributed all over the country,” he reported.
His claim is based on data from SANEF – Shared Agent Network Fund, empowered by the Central Bank of Nigeria to oversee the shared network agents in the country.
According to the company, the agency reported that Monipoint accounts for 74% of the agent banking industry based on the volume of transactions processed monthly.
The CEO added that the total value of transactions TeamApt has processed between April 2020 and April 2021 was about $16bn. The transaction was processed mainly using Moniepoint’s Point of Sale (POS), Mobile App and Web app that agents can use in servicing customers.
He also added that the company already has about 14 million unique customers monthly.
In comparison, Paga’s CEO, Tayo Oviosu recently tweeted that the company has processed $2.3 billion in 2020 and $8 billion over the last four years. While according to 2020 numbers, OPay claimed to have processed $1.4 bn in October and $2bn in December of that year.
Automating merchant payments
Aside from Moniepoint, TeamApt’s product for businesses, Monnify also reported significant growth.
Ifeanyi Duru, the Vice President of Monnify explained that the product is a collection platform that allows organizations and merchants to automate payment collection processes.
“The product helps solves the problem of manual reconciliation of funds when money is paid through mobile money and internet banking service by automating the interbank transaction process.”Ifeanyi Duru, the Vice President of Monnify
What this means is that it removes the need for customers to have to wait for merchants to confirm if payment is received by manually checking their bank account. Once payment is made, Monnify alerts the merchant.
Speaking on the tech, Ifeanyi revealed that it uses transaction references presented as a new bank account number to trace who made the payment. Then it alerts merchants to provide services in real-time.
The product now has over 2,000 merchants across industries like airlines, schools, utility and government parastatals.
Banking the underserved 500 million in Africa
With over 500 million Africans still underserved, TeamApt wants to take its mission of using technology to help people find financial happiness to the next level.
According to Tosin, the company plans to use the expanse of its payment Infrastructure and its agency product to take on the unbanked and underserved market.
“The underserved aren’t necessarily those that don’t have a bank account. They do, but at most they are keeping their cash and withdrawing it when they need it. Proper banking services like personal finance management, wealth advisory and credit are not available in a ubiquitous manner. And we think in the coming future we are going to solve thisTosin
Going forward, the company is evolving to a more consumer-facing company. TeamApt revealed snippets of new consumer focus during the media event.
In this new direction, Moniepoint will become the umbrella under which all its digital banking solutions will fall. It will continue to power agent banking but could also be used as an app in the form of a digital bank.
Speaking on the new direction, Tosin says it is adopting a hybrid approach by combining a digital banking approach together with offline.
“The theory that we are working with is that Africans deserve financial services that are better than what Americans and Europeans but we need to understand that the way to deploy this solution has to be the cognisance of what we want as African.”
He continued by saying “we are a people that want face to face communication in addition to modern services. This means that in banking Africa you need to combine a digital banking approach together with offline.”
The CEO concluded by saying that the company is taking a similar approach to Brazil’s Nubank.
TeamApt wants to be Africa’s leading financial service by 2026
Beyond Nigeria, the company plans to expand across Africa. Tosin revealed that the company is already on the ground in the 3rd largest francophone Africa economy setting up similar operations.
Other countries the company is looking at expanding into through international acquisitions and scale-up include Cameroun, Uganda, Congo, Guinea, Ivory Coast, South Africa, Kenya, Ghana and Tanzania.
Africa’s next Unicorn?
Although TeamApt only announced fundraising is the $5.5 million in 2019, Eniolorunda revealed that the company is already eyeing Unicorn status.
While this goal appears lofty, the CEO confirmed the rumours that it recently closed a funding round worth “a couple of tens of millions” to be announced at a later date.
He also revealed that there are motions in place to raise a lot more. Asked if there was a challenge with raising funds, Mr Eniolorunda said, on the contrary, investors are piling up to invest in the company.
TeamApt’s current valuation is unknown and when asked the CEO failed to specify. However, if the company hopes to achieve unicorn status it will have to raise or be acquired for a billion dollars. Another option will be to go public.
As things stand, the only available way to estimate its valuation will come after the latest funding round is announced.
Other players in the industry like OPay and Paga ($36.7M) have also raised a significant amount of funds and are eyeing unicorn status. However, OPay is the only one that appears closer to this goal with over $170M already raised and another $400M in the works at a valuation of $1.5bn.
The latest billion-dollar startups in the ecosystem are Flutterwave and Chipper Cash. They both made headlines this year after raising $100-million-plus rounds that catapulted them to unicorn status.
Financial inclusion doesn’t just end at giving cash to people, TeamApt wants to fill the gaps in the financial industry with its digital products and agents network.
The upcoming funding announcement would show just how much influx of funds it has to push its planned expansions. It will also post a clearer picture of the company’s valuation and, more broadly, investor appetite for the fast-growing fintech space in Africa.
Get the best of Africa’s daily tech to your inbox – first thing every morning.
Join the community now!