Izzie E. Author

#PayDiaries with Tope Ekundayo 

We know that you’re a partner at Printivo and a co-founder at GetEquity. What is life like as a partner and a founder?

As an investor and founder/ operator, it’s a very time consuming life because you’re operating on several different verticals from trying to grow your business, to finding great businesses to invest or support, or speaking to a wide range of founders and operators in the ecosystem, basically trying to get an understanding of the market and trying to help with operational support. So, it’s a very busy life.

So how long have you been a partner at Printivo?

About five years. I joined as an early staff and became a partner.

Best in hard work really.

Haha. Yes, thank you.

Okay, so what are some of the challenges that you face as a partner and as a founder?

One of the challenges as a business and as an individual is the ease of making payments internationally or locally. You need to be able to make global payments, pay for all services you use and these are quite critical and finding a less stressful way to get these done is important. Imagine that you have very short timelines to get things done because you have thousands of different meetings, you also have different execution plans that you’re working on, if there are options to make your life much easier in terms of productivity and execution, you take it.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced as a founder and as an investor/ partner, either based on industry changes or economical changes or other things?

Very good question. I think I would say one of the major things was setting up a company at a time whereby from a business standpoint, it wasn’t so pleasant and easy because the Internet was just kicking off in terms of penetration. People weren’t really buying online and the fact that at those points in time, Google maps just started getting popular. So you had to do everything yourself because you were starting with a pioneer model that didn’t exist as at that time and you just had to be your own logistics, your own production, your own everything, your marketing, your branding and all. So you literally had to lend to become what you needed to become.

These days you just need to find the right partner and execute unlike before where you literally build your own infrastructure from the start. I wouldn’t advise anyone to do that now because we’re global, we’re growing, and as more innovations enter the market, it helps you launch a company faster and better, more efficiently than before. Unlike before, where you had to figure out how you collect payments and I tell you then, it wasn’t as easy at all. I think we remember the times whereby to get an API, you had to pay hundreds of thousands of naira. These days APIs are free. Integrations those days took so many days and now it’s the minutes. Dealing with logistic partners was hell because you had to train them to provide customer support and now it’s just finding a great logistic partner to engage with.

So I think what we’ve seen is that as more innovations have come, it has helped people partner the right way and rely on partners to scale. And I think that it’s the whole point; to build a great business, it takes a village and so many villages are being built.

In the tech industry in general, what would you say you’re most excited about?

What I’m excited about is people deciding to come into entrepreneurship more. I’m happy that people are taking the bull by the horn. There are thousands of problems that the country has, right? And it’s either we wait to get them fixed, which we might wait forever, or we take the bull by the horn and see that it’s okay to fail. Most people fear failure in the ecosystem because they fear stigma but I don’t think that is true. I feel there are problems that need to be touched, there are lessons that need to be learnt, whether painfully or not. But, the most important thing is people are now intentional about taking control of their lives by going into a very hard life of entrepreneurship because trust me, it is not easy in any form of way.

And so it’s actually impressive to see the new innovations every single day. As more opportunities keep opening up, it gives a lot of younger generations the confidence to take on challenges, not just for solving problems within Africa, but even globally. And they can also make decisions using those skills they’ve learnt to build or chart a new course of their economic life.

Why did you decide to download the Payday app?

So I think going back to the first issue, I mentioned finding the best partners to work with to reduce the stress in our life. I mean, payment are challenges in any sense and way, payment for services, payment for critical things that you want. So, you need to subscribe to a particular service to improve your life and your current limitations based on no fault of yours.

So when you’re trying to make payments for critical needs, whether it be courses that you want to learn or take to improve yourself personally, or to subscribe to your general entertainment, or to subscribe to critical servers that you need for your business, it’s always a challenge, right? Or you’re trying to run marketing services, it’s always a challenge and it’s no fault of yours, it’s just that there is a bad perception around your country and so these things kind of reduce that economic freedom for you.

Yeah, I agree with that. There’s that barrier to payment.

Exactly. So finding the right partner that can help is very important for me personally, and for other Nigerians who are looking to upscale to get better ways to pay for services in general.

What’s your favorite thing about the payday app?

Oh yeah, of course it’s going to be the virtual cards. Like I said, from critical server services to personal entertainment services to personal development services that you might subscribe to and not have to worry about it failing month after month. It’s just good to put your money, keep it moving, keep doing what you are doing and not have to worry.

As a payday user, what can we do to make your experience better?

I think a feature on data around where or how you’re spending, spend controls to know if at all you may be shooting the limit. When you’re subscribed to several places, you will need to be sure on the debits happening on your account. Imagine getting a debit that you didn’t plan for. Look at LinkedIn sales navigator for example, you don’t want to get charged a heavy amount because you forgot to unsubscribe and there goes the debit and you’re in pink. So being able to track these things would be very helpful.

So you want us to include a financial management feature?

Exactly. I think that will really help.