While others are not too happy with the way things are going on in their world of entrepreneurship, others go about celebrating their achievements. Paga now has 5 million-plus users. Shouldn’t they celebrate this milestone achievement? Except you are jealous…man, they have every reason to be excited. If I were their CEO I would have taken a horn speaker to Mount Everest. Hope you know what I mean?
Paga was founded in early 2009 on the simple belief that the ubiquity of mobile phones can be leveraged to bring financial services to all Africans. It works on the most basic SMS enabled phone and on all mobile networks so customers have the liberty to have their Paga account available at their fingertips regardless of what phone or network they are using.
Before you start having you mouth opened in wonderment you should be asking yourself what their secret is.
Patience and consistency
Back of every successful venture is that which many people never see. Your ability to keep going no, matter the situation, is the very first tool in your arsenal to guarantee your success. It’s been 7 years since the CEO and Founder of Paga set out to solve the inefficiency of payments for businesses and consumers and ease access to financial services to all Nigerians. That’s how long they started yet with all the challenges they never gave up.
The CEO and Founder, Tayo Oviosu, describes their journey in theses words “Achieving 5 million users has not been an easy feat, especially in a regulated business, and in a tough operating market such as Nigeria! 7 years ago I set out to solve the inefficiency of payments for businesses and consumers and make financial services accessible to all Nigerians. We didn’t start real operations to the market until after our Series A in 2012, 3 years after focusing on it full time. We couldn’t afford much marketing until then. Today, we have crossed a major milestone and I’m very proud of what we have achieved!”
Paga’s success story is akin to those told by many teams. Team leaders and members have always said the success wouldn’t have come without every member of the team making a contribution. The CEO and Founder of Paga is confident that the business they have started through team effort will last for 200+ years and greatly impact the lives of Nigerians as it’s build from a solid team.
“Our team of ~200 has achieved so much because each person has been dedicated to the mission and a desire to build something bigger than all of us…Everyday I feel privileged working with such a great team and with great investors who you know really care about the team,” he says.
When it comes to dealing with financial transactions people are always very scared. For you to win the confidence of potential customers and investors there must be some documentation that will facilitate dealings with investors and customers. In this case obtaining a license gives you some leverage.
Mr. Oviosu tells us that “Without a license, only one VC (Alitheia Capital/Goodwell) was willing to bet on us…we had money to keep building but we really couldn’t push the business in any strong way. Armed with the license we went out to raise money and closed our Series A in June of 2012 — money in the bank in August of 2012.”
You will never appreciate the power of networking unless you’ve witnessed it firsthand. Networking is a skill every entrepreneur should possess. If you don’t have just pause with whatever you’re doing in entrepreneurship and go seek some learning.
“The anchor of our business is our shared agent network — women and men who are entrepreneurs across Nigeria. With 10,000 agents, Paga is the single largest network of financial access points in Nigeria. I love our agents and always enjoy going out to the field and meeting them — they are making a difference in their communities and building valuable businesses for themselves. We have opened our network to the banks and through those relationships we will bring financial services to the mass market,” says Mr. Oviosu.
It’s been a day of excitement at Paga. The CEO and Founder of Pega expressed his happiness in the following words:
“I am excited about the milestone we have hit today, however, the journey continues and we have a long way to go. In Q4 we will launch a major upgrade to Paga’s consumer offerings. Soon after, a major upgrade to our online payment gateway.”
He says “Our goal, as a full-service payments business, is to solve the payment needs for all sizes of merchants (without competing with them), and making it easy for consumers to send money to other people or pay for goods and services”.