CustOpinion was founded by Solomon Boye-Laryea and Gideon Kombian, who believe businesses need to have closer relationships with their customers and their startup company is just doing exactly that. I caught up with Solomon to know more about his business and his life as an entrepreneur.
Coincidentally, this startup was launched on St. Valentine’s Day, signifying the need for fostering stronger relationship between businesses and their customers.
Having identified a substantial amount of gap existing between various businesses and how they interact with their customers, Solomon reveals what his startup company does and why they are in the market, “
He explains further, “instant messaging, browsing pictures and videos with apps have become a common thing and part of consumer behavior. In view of that some organisations are beginning to use instant messaging apps to connect more with customers. But existing apps are limited in design and features for businesses. CustOpinion is equipped to provide that level of corporate interactive business messaging with additional marketing features.”
CustOpinion is really a service to watch out for if you run a serious business and you consider your cusomers as paramount as he says, “It is our vision to influence the way business is ran globally.”
The application is made up of a downloadable mobile app to be used by customers to send messages (feedback, inquires etc.) to organisations they do business with or are interested in and a dashboard (both web and mobile) primarily for businesses to receive messages sent by customers and also send out messages to customers.
When asked how they are marketing the platform he reveals they are currently “working on partnerships with media organisations to help promote the app. This has become extremely necessary because of the ‘chicken and egg’ situation we find ourselves. This means that while businesses are asking us how many people have downloaded the app, users want to know which businesses are on the app so they can find it valuable when they download.”
Coming by a name for a business is normally an fascinating routine one goes through, so I always ask CEOs how such moments were for them and how they got the names. In the case of CustOpinion, the founder revealed “CustOpinion is made up of two words – Customer and Opinion. The idea initially was to provide people the opportunity to send their thoughts and opinion (feedback) to businesses whose products and services they consume, but as we continue our customer validation process we realised we could give more to businesses and to the customers who download the app. However we have not changed the name.”
Getting funding for disruptive businesses in Africa is quite a daunting task and it appears it is no different for Solomon and Gideon who admitted that the business has been ran purely on personal savings till date and are currently looking for investors so their venture can be taken to the next level.
Solomon is a proud product of Melt Water incubator and with his background in Computer Science it has been easy to adapt to this tech space quite easily.
A strong statement by Solomon which only takes belief and extra resolve to make is, “I am in this venture to make Ghana and Africa proud, and that’s it; so that the rest of the world can see that we can build and do great stuffs in spite of the challenges in our Sub-Saharan region.”
When quizzed on where his business should be in the near future, he envisions “CustOpinion to be a global business in the next five years.”
For the many of you who need inspiration and motivation to start walking your path to success Solomon has this for you, “Entrepreneurship is the only means by which the Africa Rising dream can be realized, so lets get prepared and jump on the entrepreneurship wagon and do our best.”
So there you have it, this startup has a lot in store for us. Check their site and download their app to have a better customer relation with your favourite company at www.custopinion.com
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Rahmon Ojukotola: StartCredits Hopes to Save Nigerians Billions of Naira
High interest rates on loans are a barrier to growth and economic prosperity, which is why StartCredits has developed an innovative way for Nigerians to borrow quick online loans without collateral on its loan market comparison platform.
It is the aim of this fin-tech startup to help Nigerians access finance and save money by comparing loan providers. Rahmon, the Director of StartCredits is strategically growing this company to be the preferred loan market for a number of online borrowers.
Rahmon Ojukotola currently sits on the advisory board to the Florida schools group and previously worked at the Bank of England and UBS. Our startup founder, is also a Chartered Accountant and a member of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and the Royal Economic Society.
With these credentials, he surely has what it takes to lead the competitive loan market. Let’s find out what Rahmon has brought into the market and his life as an entrepreneur.
How is StartCredits disrupting the traditional borrowing in Africa as you suggest?
StartCredits is disrupting traditional borrowing, as our product provides transparency and increases competition in the market to reduce interest rates for qualified borrowers. It also provides a new channel for Nigerians to borrow money.
From your enviable background why did you decide to leave all that to start a startup in Nigeria?
I worked in investment banking and central banking for a number of years and gained a finance MSc from the London School of Economics and chartered qualifications in accounting, investments, securities and finance. I decided to build a startup in Nigeria because there were opportunities and issues that needed tackling, and I thought I had the right skill set to do so. So I gave up a well paying job and decided to come back to try and build something that would hopefully contribute to the growth and development of Nigeria.
How unique are features of StartCredits?
We are the first and only business in Nigeria offering our services to all Nigerians who need loans. We have developed innovative proprietary risk models that accurately measure the borrowers probability of default. This improves our partner lenders’ ability to assess risk, and enables them to disperse more loans to qualified borrowers.
What has been the major achievement StartCredits has chalked since you commenced operation?
We have helped thousands of Nigerians to save millions of naira in interest rate so far and hope to save billions of naira in the coming years.
As much as people really need loans, Rahmon, what is your advice to stay out of debts?
My advice to Nigerians is to ensure you do not take out loans to fund lavish expenditures, loans should be used to finance good business plans. Also remember to budget for interest and other fees in any loans you do take, to stay out of debt. For more technical advice on debt management visit our website on http://startcredits.com
One of the notable features of your company is the stress on Data Science, how relevant is it?
Data science is at the heart of what we do at StartCredits. We utilise big data analytics to build innovative credits risk models, which help facilitate affordable lending to underserved qualified borrowers.
What great challenge are you facing in running your startup?
It’s pretty much to do with the adoption of the technology. Technology in general is all about finding the best ways to do things. In certain industries it’s easier to have the incumbents accept that, whereas in finance, people have become entrenched in how they do things. It’s highly profitable, so there’s more resistance to changing a winning formula. Finance is highly resistant to change, but people are slowly starting to adapt as you’re seeing with Blockchain technology, which I think has the potential to revolutionize the finance industry. The banks are slowly coming around, but are still highly resistant to change given the nature of the business. In Nigeria, it’s mostly trying to get the people to use the technology. People are highly suspicious of new technologies, so it’s a bit of a challenge
How do you foresee this industry going into the future?
The lending market in Nigeria will be one driven primarily by digital lending in the future, as it is more efficient. I also feel we will continue the cultural tradition of thrift lending (Ajo, Esusu), as it fosters community cohesion.
Tell us which African entrepreneurs inspire you and why.
I think all African entrepreneurs that have built successful business in the face of significant challenges deserve commendation. Saying that I find Ola Orekunrin’s work saving lives with flying doctors to be truly inspiring to all Nigerians and especially young girls. She is a role model who shows them if they study and work hard they can have a significant impact on the lives of many in Nigeria.
What financial advice can you share with fellow startup founders and aspiring entrepreneurs across Africa?
My advice to entrepreneurs across Africa is to make sure that everything you’re doing is simultaneously helping you achieve your goals and make profits as well. Don’t leverage too much and try not to grow too fast. Also, make sure that what you’re doing is what people want. The whole point of doing business is addressing the needs of society. So make sure you do your extensive research, go out and meet people to listen to what they’re saying, and make sure you have the right skill set to execute your plan. Once all of that is in place, you’re good to go.
Thank you, Rahmon!
To find out more about loan rates and the company, kindly visit startcredits.com.
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