Moniepoint: Nigeria's $170 billion a year payment processor

Moniepoint CEO and co-founder Tosin Eniolorunda reveals how he built Nigeria's foremost fintech
BizAge Interview Team
Tosin Eniolorunda

Hi Tosin! What's your elevator pitch?

Moniepoint is a digital financial services platform for businesses building the all-in-one solution to help companies grow without limits. Since I co-founded the business in 2015, our technology has powered hundreds of thousands of businesses, offering all the payment, banking, credit and business management tools they need to thrive. We’re Nigeria’s largest merchant financial services platform, we’re profitable and we process over $170 billion in annualised total payments volume (TPV).

Why does the market need it?

The mission my business partner, Felix Ike, now CTO, and I founded the business on remains at the very forefront of what we do today: to provide the essential technology and tools every business owner needs, no matter their digital literacy level. We’re ultimately here to create financial happiness and allow businesses and, in turn, economies to reach their full potential.

We know the market needs it as our recent performance proves it. Despite a difficult year for global financial markets and business last year, we saw unprecedented success with a 146% growth in revenue and doubling the number of customers we serve to over 600,000 businesses. We also provided over $1.4bn in working capital loans last year as traditional financing routes dried up and businesses looked for reliable and accessible funding partners. And finally, we continue to provide the majority of POS transactions across Nigeria – so we know demand shows no signs of slowing down.

Where is the business today? 

We’re stronger than ever before and have just recently rebranded the business from TeamApt to Moniepoint to reflect our growth ambitions. We’ve also relocated our headquarters to London too in line with the fact that we are a global business with multinational ambitions. Our London base will be used as a hub, making it easier to hire experienced senior leaders in the region and also make it more efficient to travel to all markets where we operate.

2022 was a very strong year for us, as we crossed some significant milestones including becoming Nigeria's largest instant payments processor, processing over $100bn in payments. We also obtained a microfinance banking license from the Central Bank of Nigeria (“CBN”), allowing us to offer a full suite of banking services including accepting deposits from customers and lending to them. We launched our Point of Sale (PoS) Transfers product which enables merchants to instantly accept validated transfers on their mobile terminals. This was a wild success, with the transaction volumes growing more than 100% each month.

When we started out nearly eight years ago, we primarily offered back office payment infrastructure for banks. To do so, we required an apt team – hence the name TeamApt. Since then, we’ve evolved significantly and our flagship business banking solution, Moniepoint, has become our core focus and where we see the most potential to grow. It’s also the most recognisable name amongst the public. As we head into the next stage in the business’s story, we wanted to reiterate our commitment to allowing any business to access the digital tools and capital they need to grow, no matter their stage, size or location. As Moniepoint we’re confident we’ll continue to deliver this.

What is the secret to making the business work?

We’re obsessed with solving problems at Moniepoint. The business landscape is a quickly changing one, so where our customers are met with something new they have to adapt to, we’re there to help by building the solutions they need. We have adopted an approach to identifying, understanding and solving problems which businesses face, which governs our approach to product development. Having this focus has undoubtedly led to our success up until this point.

But doing so isn’t easy. It requires a different way of thinking which I seek to drive amongst the whole Moniepoint team: first principles thinking. Essentially, first principles thinking is about breaking down and unpacking a problem so that you come to truly understand it. It’s about asking why over and over, so that by the time you have answered “why” five levels deep, you will be able to see how the problem connects with other issues and how it can be solved. Once you truly understand the problem, with a bit of creativity mixed with technical knowledge, you can create an innovative solution.

The other key aspect of our approach is to stand out from the crowd. It sounds simple but so many businesses get bogged down by comparing themselves to others in the market. Just because other firms are doing things a certain way, doesn’t mean that is the only or the best way. By going back to basics and understanding the problem rather than simply looking at mirroring your competition, you can come up with genuine solutions that set you apart and speak to your customers.

What funding do you have? Is it enough?

We are at Series B stage of funding. We actually became QED Investors’ first investment into Africa last year, which was testament to our growth over the last eight years. We currently have enough funding and have been profitable since 2020, but will always seize the right opportunities that come to us – as any good business should.

Tell us about the business model

Our business model is centred around providing businesses with an all-on-one platform to suit their everyday financial needs. Amongst other products, we offer a merchant business account, offline payment solutions, online payments, working capital loans, business expense cards and business management tools. The full service bank account is the core of the Moniepoint solution as it provides a clear integration across all our products and is also the entry point for most customers.

The typical way we acquire a customer is by hooking them with a payments acceptance solution via our smart POS Terminal. As soon as the merchant pays their terminal activation fees, they can start accepting payments digitally from their customers. As the merchant accepts payments we charge them a fee for all transactions that we process successfully on their behalf. This fee is calculated as a percentage of the payment transaction and currently set at 0.5% of the total payment value, capped at NGN 1,000.

We also charge for account-to-account transfers done from the terminal, or using our online digital banking platforms, such as the mobile app or the web dashboard. For account-to-account transfers, we charge a flat fee of up to NGN 60 per transfer. For the payments revenue and transfers revenue, our typical costs are the processing fees we pay out to our partners, including the issuers, card schemes, processors and banks. Over time, the merchants who use our payments product qualify for working capital loans and as they draw down the facilities, we charge them an interest.

What is the future vision?

We want to continue deepening our relationship with our customers by ensuring we provide them products that they love and that enable them to grow their businesses. In addition, we plan to take our business banking financial platform global by rolling it out in other markets where we see a similar need and market potential. We’ll continue to be solutions obsessed, to give our customers the best outcomes and flexing to their needs in a rapidly changing landscape. Attracting, retaining and nurturing the best tech talent is also something we’re very proud of and will continue to do as we realise our growth ambitions over the coming months and years.

Written by
BizAge Interview Team
March 15, 2023