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 Meet Tosin Eniolorunda, the brain behind Moniepoint

If there is one thing the cash crunch earlier in the year proved to businesses, it was the need to have working and reliable systems that could allow them to make and receive payments without cash.

In the heat of the moment, lots of consumers were desperate to find out which mobile money or bank network could be most reliable for such transfers.

It was a huge opportunity for those fintechs that had built capacity in that regard to claim a significant market share, and Moniepoint was one of this fintech.

Tosin Eniolorunda is CEO and co-founder of Moniepoint (formerly TeamApt), which is now acclaimed to be one of Nigeria’s biggest non-bank mobile money operators. Moniepoint has a network of over 30,000 registered agents in all thirty-six states, making it the largest provider of agency banking in Nigeria, and processes about ₦400 billion monthly, an achievement that makes it the envy of other fintech solutions.

Here is the story of the man who founded this solution, with a plan to create financial happiness for Nigerians by making it easier to move money and aid transactions.

Education

The first of three children, Tosin Eniolorunda grew up in the city of Ibadan. From his secondary school days, he had always been the fix-it person and became the president of the engineering club in his secondary school.

Admission into the Obafemi Awolowo University did not change this much, as he recounts that he created a number of software and hardware solutions for people while he was studying mechanical engineering.

However, when it was time to take the leap into entrepreneurship, he opted for software solutions. “Hardware solutions were kind of harder to handle, and I realized that software was the better way to go, “ he said on the Wharton fintech podcast.

His first experience in the workplace was his internship with Schlumberger Limited, Port Harcourt in 2005. After bagging a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering and graduating from the university in 2007, he started his engineering career at Interswitch, a leading African-integrated payments and digital commerce platform company.

He built a solid foundation for his later entrepreneurial career as he worked for over 5 years at Interswitch, rising from the position of software developer in 2009, through the ranks.

He was Senior Software Manager, Unit Head of Application Development, and Product Manager at different points.

He also worked in the capacity of Unit Head, Industry Verticals and Solutions, Application Development.

The desire for a certain level of flexibility in his work life soon led Tosin to begin to consider entrepreneurship.

Founding TeamApt

In 2015, Tosin teamed up with his ex-colleague Felix Ike and started a fintech company – TeamApt – in Nigeria. The vision was to provide financial solutions for businesses in a way that would totally transform payments and banking for businesses, and they started by building such solutions for banks.

The vision is crafted thus “creating financial happiness by creating financial services for underserved populations” and Tosin explains it thus.

  • “I think for most people, we are pursuing positive feelings in life. We all know that money is an important element for happiness, so I considered it important to be able to help people find happiness with money. Technology typically drives everything in our world so building solutions that can help people find happiness with money, is a universal and big mission to focus on.
  • “We are fulfilling some of these so far ” Eniolorunda explained on Wharton’s fintech podcast.

Over the years, TeamApt worked at ensuring that their solutions remain relevant to businesses.

When they recognized that even though direct transfers were a staple payment choice for many consumers, they were typically hard to track, they introduced the POS transfer solution which made it easier for businesses to receive payments they could easily monitor.

Tosin also explained that they also chose a hybrid distribution model in Africa, adding the wider reach of digital distribution, with the reliability of an offline distribution to build trust. “Most African markets are low-trust and typically require a human interface before adopting digital solutions. This meant we could get directly in touch with the businesses needing our products” he explained.

In April 2022 as well, Moniepoint evolved from enabling card transactions for agents to an all-in-one business bank, positioning the brand to fit the needs of businesses in the informal economy.

This would later work wonders in their favour when the introduction of the cashless policy threw the Nigerian economy into a cash crunch.

  • “With reduced access to cash, alternative payment methods became important for businesses. Our business bank accounts and point-of-sale terminals could keep businesses going during this period. Our team’s previous experience building banking infrastructure also helped reduce processor failure disputes to about 10% daily and reduced downtime by 60%” Tosin explained.

With this sort of performance, one may say that TeamApt is achieving the mission it set out to achieve, creating ease around financial and business transactions and thus, creating financial happiness.

Converting social network rating to credit rating for the unbanked

In the second phase of TeamApts execution, they moved on to providing bank products and services for the unbanked, tailoring the products to suit such people.

  • “A lot of these persons are financially viable but because they do not have a bank account, they are unable to access products since they do not have a credit history.
  • “We began to tackle this through two routes. The first one is loans that we give to open-market traders.
  • Open market traders are interesting people because they have turnover and they make profits. But many of them are too busy or too uneducated to deal with banking processes and access formal credits. we begin to bank these guys by giving them microloans within the range of $100 to $400 for a 30 to 60 day period” Tosin detailed.

How does TeamApt determine their credit rating?

  • “Since these traders do not have a viable financial history, TeamApt uses their network of friends. “If you have a circle of friends, you know who you can borrow money or not, if you want your money to come back. So, we figured out that we could use people’s opinion to come up with a credit score for these unbanked people” he said.

Moniepoint is now also opening local mini-banks where people can begin to get access to financial services and get banked without having to travel long distances or wait in long queues.

Building Products without funding

Unlike a number of startups that raise funding before getting a market-ready product, TeamApt ran for over three years before raising its first funding.

TeamApt raised about $5.5 million in its Series A funding round in 2019. The company has on-boarded and catered to over three million customers. Data from its 2020 review showed a $3.9 billion transaction value processing $160 million monthly.

  • “It was not a conscious decision from the beginning not to raise funds. It is kind of difficult to build a product and raise funds at the same time, and a lot of startups get stuck in the limbo of not being able to build the product because the founder is stuck trying to raise funds. choosing an enterprise path meant that we had more liquidity to pursue our goals. And we created a lot of value for our early partners and shareholders” Tosin said about it.

TeamApt has now launched two digital products, Moniepoint and Monnify. In an interview with tech economy, Tosin stated that Moniepoint will build a financial ecosystem where banks can deploy web and mobile applications to help their customers pay, collect, and manage their finances more easily.

There are also plans to expand operations into other African countries and drive more financial inclusion in Africa.

Under Tosin’s leadership, the business has grown by more than 300% each year since 2019 and is the partner of choice for 400,000 businesses.

Tosin is a speaker and has spoken at a number of industry events including the World Government Summit in Abu Dhabi, and Money20/20 Las Vegas.

He was also selected as an Endeavor Entrepreneur by Endeavor.

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