On September 22, Nigerian tech Twitter was raving about the launch of a new fintech app: Abeg.
With a logo bearing the letter “a,” a dollar mark across and a purple background, Abeg signaled her arrival in style. Its goal ? “To make someone happy with money.”
In West Africa, and especially in Nigeria, the term “Abeg” is used for say please or plead for something, which simplifies Abeg’s value proposition.
Bearing a striking resemblance to the United States-based mobile payment service, Cash App, Abeg is a fintech platform that relies on user tags to request and send money.
Using tags instead of traditional bank accounts as the first choice for sending and receiving money is one of the platform’s ways of providing a fun experience for its users.
“Send me your account number” is the new ghetto (peasant behavior)
Send me your #abegtag jar
– meaning hey (@dare___a) September 25, 2020
Likewise, users can send money to people on their contact list using their phone numbers or through payment links after funding their digital wallets.
But what prompted the team behind Abeg, with nearly nil marketing efforts, to create something that, so far, has won over many Nigerian millennials?
Abeg: making peer-to-peer mobile payment transparent
“Remember how many buttons you have to click to make a payment through a banking app? We want to remove these barriers and let you send money in just three clicks. This is our promise ”, Dare Adekoya, co-founder and CEO of Abeg tells Techpoint Africa.
According to him, fintech platforms before Abeg had yet to find the best peer-to-peer (P2P) mobile payment experience in Nigeria. Seeking a solution to this problem, Adekoya, its co-founder – Akanni Muheez – and their team set out to create Abeg with special attention to user experience.
Prior to founding Abeg Technologies, the company behind the Abeg product, Adekoya worked at Sterling Bank where he designed web and mobile experiences, while Muheez worked as a mobile and web developer at Prospa, a platform. fintech form in Lagos.
Fulfilling these respective roles at Abeg was instrumental in the end result of the product. Evidencing this, Adekoya says that based on customer feedback, most of his users have had “amazing first experiences,” which he says is rare with mainstream fintech.
“We’ve seen this kind of enthusiasm with products like Paystack, but not in the consumer space. “
The process of integrating the platform is quite straightforward. When logging in, a user provides certain information: full name, email address, a phone number for OTP verification, and a bank verification number (BVN).
Users then create a tag that can be used to send or request money, and then are provided with a digital wallet to complete transactions.
However, there are other features of the Abeg app that are not yet available. A merchandise store to purchase Abeg items; “Ajo”, a collective savings function; and a fundraising platform where users can donate to a cause.
Use a niche market to grow
Aside from creating a good product, another key thing to note is that being full-fledged tech influencers on Twitter, the team was able to tap into a sense of camaraderie within the Nigerian tech community for their marketing. and its promotion.
“I will say that Twitter’s tech community has helped promote a lot, just like most startups emerge with the help of close friends and established connections in their industry or community. “
This is evident in the numbers Abeg has obtained so far. Launched just a week ago, Adekoya says that Abeg has more than 5,000 users who have completed thousands of P2P transactions with wallet funding amounting to millions of naira.
But the startup is not resting. For the CEO, this is just the start as the goal is to get the product into the hands of everyday users and other communities.
One way to do this is through freebies.
A social media trend, people have used giveaways to exchange money and gadgets, among other things, for more followers or likes.
The concept is thriving in the tech community on Twitter in Nigeria as people encourage each other to ‘give giveaways’. It’s become a norm and Adekoya thinks it’s Abeg’s “beachhead”, especially because of the name of its product.
With giveaways not ending anytime soon, at least not in Nigeria, Abeg has the perfect opportunity to expand into other gift markets across the country.
“We think this is the right way to bring the first group of users and early adopters to the platform. “
While Abeg may consider expanding into other segments, and outside Nigeria in the coming months, it will need to redouble its efforts to ensure customers are happy.
According to the CEO, not everything was rosy when the platform went live, as they had to deal with unexpected traffic and unforeseen technical issues.
“Our mail service went down because we hit limits we didn’t know existed. We also had to switch between multiple SMS providers and deal with bugs in production.
If these issues are resolved, Abeg can expect scaling up. But if the plan is to become the Cash app for Africa, it will need to provide more services like its counterpart in the United States.
In addition to making P2P mobile payments transparent, the Square product has features that allow users to invest in stocks, grow their savings with interest, and buy and sell bitcoin. Likewise, it provides Cash Card, a debit card for making purchases using funds from a user’s Cash App account.
That being said, the startup knows what to do, and according to Adekoya, Abeg is going all out.
“We think of Abeg as a platform where a lot of cool things can happen and one of them just happens to be giveaways. Over the next few months, we will be announcing other cool features that will definitely make the platform grow, ”he said.
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