To achieve a sustainable and stable fintech ecosystem, operators in the industry have been advised to put in place sound corporate governance principles and policies and also package their business proposals to attract potential investors. This was the opinion of speakers at the second edition of Ecobank Fintech Breakfast Series held at Ecobank Pan African Centre (EPAC) in Lagos. The Speakers who weighed in on the theme: ‘Strengthening the ecosystem’ with emphasis on the role of good corporate governance in the fintech industry and what fintechs need to know about securing investments, emphasized that sound corporate governance strengthens organizations while good value proposition and structure determine and attract potential investors.
Tosin Iyayi, Partner, Aluko & Oyebode stated that to entrench sound corporate governance, an organization must put in place a well constituted board of directors who will oversee and perform the roles of strategic planning and keeping oversight of the company’s affairs. According to her, “the board will ensure an organization that is well run in line with laid down ethics, rules and regulations. It should be able to add value to the organization, review the operations at every given point and offer helpful advice on the growth of such organization. Members should have sound business acumen; they must have experience in running a successful business, and able to steer the direction of the company. There should gender diversity in constituting the board. Members should have good knowledge of environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) which refers to a set of standards for a company’s behavior used by socially conscious investors to screen potential investments.”
Speaking on Fintech and Fundraisers: What fintechs need to know about securing investments, Chinedu Onuoha, Managing Director, Mzuri Solutions Limited, advised fintechs startup to have a clear insight on the need and purpose for raising fund, stressing that they should ensure such funds are deployed for the purpose. In his words, “fintech startups should raise funds they actually need. Sometimes you don’t need fund but goodwill. Know when to raise funds and when not to, and where not to raise funds. You should have a clear insight on what you need the funds for and meet your payment schedule to avoid breach on corporate governance and your ethics. Don’t outrun yourself in order not to lose control thereby questioning your ability to drive the business.”
Also speaking, Yemi Keri, Co-founder, Rising Tide Africa who spoke on how to secure fund, stated that investors look at the product, passion and structure of organizations. “Investors are looking for good deals. You can get investors from networking event such as this breakfast meeting. Visit platforms such as LinkedIn. Check out profiles. There are genuine investors out there looking out for profitable business they can invest in” adding that “on our part, we look at your product, your passion, motivation. We also look at how you will leverage technology for ease of operation and meet the needs of the customers. We look at your team, scalability, value proposition and structure to ensure business continuity.”
Earlier, Osahon Akpata, Group Head, Consumer Payments, Ecobank stated that the Pan African bank pays high premium on the growth of Africa fintechs, stating that the fintech space is attractive. He said Ecobank was providing a platform for banks and fintechs to explore areas of mutual interests and opportunities with a view to building a stronger ecosystem.
Other speakers at the event included Lexi Novitske, General Partner, Norrsken22 and Yele Oyekola, co-founder & CEO, Duplo amongst several others.
The Ecobank Fintech Breakfast Series which holds in partnership with Tech Cabal, a digital media and publishing firm based in Nigeria, is designed to hold quarterly and aims to gather fintech leaders across the continent to share business insights, as well as discuss pertinent topics in the fintech ecosystem such as regulatory guidelines, funding, and other topics of interest to support both established and fintech startups at different stages of their journey.
Ecobank Nigeria Ltd. is a subsidiary of the Ecobank Group, the leading pan-African banking group with operations in 33 African countries and an international presence in four locations (London, Paris, Beijing, and Dubai). Ecobank Nigeria is a full-service bank providing wholesale, retail, investment and transaction banking services and products to governments, financial institutions, multinationals, international organizations, medium, small, and micro businesses, and individuals. Ecobank is a major player in the distribution of financial services in Nigeria, leveraging digital platforms including Ecobank Mobile App and USSD *326#, Ecobank Online, Ecobank OmniPlus, Ecobank Omnilite, EcobankPay, Ecobank RapidTransfer, ATMs, POSs and an extensive distribution network of over 250 branches and over 50,000 agency banking locations.