Quidroo‘s Olufunto Boroffice does not consider herself a tech person at all as she is quick to confess that she has zero tech skills, nevertheless, she is a firm believer in the importance of tech and the power of what can be achieved with the use of technology in scaling solutions to the many challenges that assuage our society.
In this week’s edition of women in tech, Olafunto Borrofice talks to Technext about the experiences that led her to become a tech founder and her journey so far.
Olufunto Boroffice never envisaged she would become a tech sis much less a tech founder but an unsavoury experience of accessing funds from traditional financial institutions when she needed it for business, led her in search of a solution that would make funds readily available for small and medium enterprises, especially for women.
The solution she came up with is Quidroo.
How it started
Olufunto had a BS.C in accounting from Northeastern University and a Ms.c in financial management from the Pace University. She lived most of her life in the US and has worked with General Electric capital for 12 years, where she rose to the position of Vice President. Then, she decided that it was time to make an impact back home in Nigeria.
Upon her return, she served as Technical Assistant to the Honorable Minister of Power Bartholomew Nnaji on MOU Implementation from 2012 -2013. She also served as Technical Assistant to the Honorable Minister of Power, professor Osita Nebo on Investments, Finance & Donor Relations from 2013 -2015.
Boroffice tells me that her time working in government exposed her to how important finding a solution to waste was and converting it to energy. She tells me:
“My decision to start a recycling company was borne out of the fact that we had a lot of investors who were coming into Nigeria to do waste energy and would go back disappointed because though we had waste, it wasn’t sorted. This is what led me to found chanjadatti, a waste collection and recycling company.”
This leads her to do just more:
“It was in the course of running this business that I needed cash to buy some products and didn’t have any as some clients were yet to pay, so I ran to my bank hoping to get some funds to tide me over until I got paid.
To my surprise the two banks I went to gave me the runaround, and asked to provide collateral, the paperwork was enormous and I was shocked as I know they could see the transactions that went through those accounts but it got me thinking that surely there had to be an easier way for small and medium businesses to access quick funds to run their business.”
This experience led Boroffice who spoke to other business owners facing these same challenges in running their business to begin to research how best to solve this problem of lack of access to quick cash for small businesses.
After understanding that it was a prevalent problem for businesses, Boroffice decides to take action.
“I sat down and said how can we solve these problems because the more I spoke to other SMEs the more I realized that some didn’t even have access to funds because the requirements were numerous and sometimes impossible for some especially women business owners to meet”, she said.
Borrofice brought all her previous experience to the fore to ensure that she provides a solution that makes it easy for small business owners to access funds she says;
“I looked around to see if there are companies who are doing what we intend to do and I found out that while some are close, they are not doing it in the way we intend to which is to make women entrepreneurs a priority even though we cater to all. In the course of my research, I realised that due to lack of funding, many women are restricted to doing petty trading and are unable to scale.”
How does Quidroo plan to make quick cash available to small business owners considering how low trust our society is?
Boroffice reveals that “ the way Quidroo works is that we will be able to buy the invoice from the business owner at a slightly discounted rate and they get the money in 72hours and when the client pays, they pay directly to us.”
Sounds simple enough but there are concerns about the honesty of the business owners and methods of verifications from the company, Boroffice says “these are valid concerns which we have taken into consideration which is why we will be working directly with the vendors.
Before we give out the money to the business owner, we will verify from the clients to ensure that they indeed do have an outstanding payment to that business and the payment is transferred to us directly when they do pay.”
Asked if this has been tested in the market, she tells me they are still in the beta stage tweaking a few things but she believes that the Quidroo solution will solve the problem of lack of quick access to funds for small business owners.
Speaking on making a profit while proffering solutions, Olufuntosaid that Quidroo will make a profit by paying the business owner slightly less than the worth of the invoice. “ if for instance, the invoice we are buying is 100 Naira, we will pay the business owner 95 Naira and when the client pays us the 100 Naira, the 5 Naira is our profit” she reveals.
For Olufunto, her most memorable moments on this journey as a woman in tech have come through the learning communities she joined, she tells me that “I have applied for several programs like the Stellar fund community boot camp in 2021 and through that, we were able to get a fund of $40,00 which was quite phenomenal and has greatly helped us to build.”
Another memorable event for her was launching another app: “ I have also been able to launch a recycling app called Recycoin as I am a firm believer in the power of technology as it is the current wave to drive us to the future”.
Challenges as a woman in tech
Funding is often a problem Boroffice says. While she admits that a lot is currently being done to fund African women in tech, she insists that more can be done: “as much as there is an increase in support for women in tech, there is room to do more and I am glad to see that more groups are coming up to fund women”.
Another challenge she has experienced is the low number of female developers:
“ a lot of the female founders I know have zero tech skills but I have observed that the talents to bring your vision to life in the tech space are still very male-dominated. I have built like 3 tech solutions and even when building Quidroo all the developers have been male not for lack of trying to find a female developer on my part but I just couldn’t find any. This is not to say that there is anything wrong with the male developers but as a woman in tech, it would be cool to have your idea brought to life by a female developer”.
Olufunto’s advice to women is simple,” Be ready to put in the work she advises, she says it is very important to understand what you are undertaking before you begin “
“As much as I want a lot of women to be founders and start their entrepreneurial journey, I would say make sure you count the cost before you begin as it is not a journey for the faint of heart” she says.
Speaking on what the future holds for her, Boroffice tells me she wants to be able to provide quick cash to seeds especially the women “ my wish and heart desire is that Quidroo is able to support not just women SME but all entrepreneurs to get fast cash at when needed to enable them to keep their business running when they have pending payments. For us, it is to make sure that commerce, which is the bedrock of any nation continues to thrive.”
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