Nigerian Neobank Roundtable: Moniepoint, Kuda, FairMoney

May 9, 2024

In this episode, we're joined in a panel conversation with the CEOs of three of Nigeria's biggest digital banks: Moniepoint's Tosin Eniolorunda, Kuda's Babs Ogundeyi, and FairMoney's Laurin Hainy.

This episode was recorded live from the FT Partners Fintech in Africa Summit in New York City. Download their FinTech in Africa research report, published in March 2024.

00:00 - Intro
01:18 - Moniepoint's distribution-first strategy
02:45 - FairMoney's credit-led approach
04:46 - Kuda's neobank strategy
06:48 - Banks, product, competition, expansion
25:45 - Growth, VC returns
33:56 - What does success look like?

This episode features:

New episodes straight to your inbox.

Get them as soon as they're published.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Join thousands of subscribers.


Laurin Hainy: You see someone else doing well or something works for someone else and then you're thinking, okay, I gotta do that same thing.

Justin Norman: So you guys know each other's businesses very well…

Justin Norman: That's Babs Ogundeyi, Laurin Heiny, and Tosin Eniolorunda, the CEOs of 3 of Nigeria's largest digital banks, Kuda, FairMoney, and Moniepoint.

Tosin Eniolorunda: I think given enough time, we will all probably end up in similar places. Banks will be like Fintechs. Fintechs will be like banks. Fintechs will be like each other.

Babs Ogundeyi: I knew I had to also build trust. I know it's certainly very difficult. We had to do a lot of work, convincing and convincing.

Laurin Hainy: So very quickly, we realized, okay, this is actually hard. And then you fail, you fail again, and then you do a bit better. And there's a reason why, learn learn learn learn learn.

Justin Norman: This episode of The Flip was recorded live at the Fintech in Africa Summit in New York, where some of the biggest growth stage fintechs from across the continent were brought together with global investors and strategic partners. Be sure to check out FT Partners' latest Fintech in Africa research report, which we've linked to in the show notes. Before we start, we have one small favor to ask. If you enjoy the show and want to support the content that we create, please hit that subscribe button. It only takes a second, but it will mean a lot to us if you do.

Justin Norman: So Tosin, I want to start with you. Moniepoint has most recently become an MFB, but you started as a distribution first. You build out the physical infrastructure. It's interesting because we might use the term neobank, but you're not necessarily a neobank, I suppose, if you have physical infrastructure. But I wanna start with your decision to build physical infrastructure as a way to extend financial services at the last mile, and then we're gonna talk about the different approaches that they've taken to doing so. But why physical infrastructure, and why build the company in the way that you did to the point that you have to do that?

Tosin Eniolorunda: I mean, it's simply just the means to an end, which is distribution to the end customer. And it seems to us that the best way to reach out to these customers is being physical, and we simply took that approach. Of course, more recently, we've also built out digital customer acquisition and also seeing good results also in that. And also because the product we started with, by its very nature, which is agents and banking, is kind of physical. You deal with point-of-sale devices.

Tosin Eniolorunda: In Nigeria, I don't think logistics or shipping devices is very well developed. Or like if you're in the UK and you could get a point-of-sale device mailed into your office or your home. So we really didn't even have a choice than to build a distribution system to get a point of sale devices to the agent. And of course, that's how we built the competence and scale that.

Justin Norman: So then Laurin, for you, your approach to to providing digital financial services was through a credit perspective first. And I think we know the story about very low access to credit really across the content, especially in Nigeria. So you chose to start there. I think you were doing lending as a point of entry for a number of years before you became a MFB or acquired your license. So can you talk about that decision to enter the market through lending first and then building out the sort of neo banking infrastructure once you had your license?

Laurin Hainy: Sure. So what I don't think, I mean, today, we are all not that different anymore, if you start at the end. I think we started as a lender and then started to take deposits a few years ago, and then we bought in sort of like a today it's called family business, used to be called Payforce, which is also a merchant acquirer POS business, and then currently building out the offline infrastructure. So in the end, I think the conversion is everyone ends up in the end in the same point if they execute well. 

Laurin Hainy: But we chose loans or lending as first point, which I still think is I mean, for us, it's worked really well for two reasons. First, I mean, honestly, the most pragmatic reason was we needed to, generate revenue from early on. We didn't have any VC money six years ago.
That wasn't a big thing. It was a thing then few years later, but we just didn't have any anything else. So we literally looked at which product generates meaningful amounts of revenue and helps pay the bills, and that was lending. And then later, as we did this for a few years, we started to take deposits to decrease the cost of funding and so on and so forth. 

Laurin Hainy: But that was really the original idea and also well that it converged with what customers needed most. So that was positive. And now as I mentioned, first loans and deposit taking, now merchant acquiring business B2B business, POS business. So, yeah, in the end, we are not that far away from this.

Justin Norman: And, Babs, for you, from a Kuda perspective, you're maybe the most traditional pure play neobank, digital customer acquisition, digital financial services. Can you talk a little bit about why that's the approach you took? I know that there was a little bit of experimental lending at the beginning, but that's certainly not the focus of your business relative to FairMoney, for example. So why that approach?

Babs Ogundeyi: Yeah. I mean, I think, obviously, clearly, we have, two founders here that have taken different approaches. So definitely there are different ways to skin a cat. For me, I decided on this part for different reasons. I thought maybe rightly or wrongly, but I thought it would be much harder to get people to give you money rather than you giving out money. We did think about the lending as a starting point. My decision was actually altered by I spoke to an investor. I can't remember who exactly it was, but I spoke to an investor when we kind of experimented with lending. And I think we had like 1,000 potential customers at the time. And I was told, well, you know, that's not traction. And for me, you kind of needed the money to show traction with lending. So I decided very early on to go the other way to ensure that we can get the kind of traction required that would attract funding. 

Justin Norman: What is better than transacting in 4 currencies? More currencies, more markets, and a single settlement in your preferred currency. If you want to expand to multiple African markets and do it fast, Onafriq is the treasury partner for your journey. Simplifying processes is built into their DNA, and by connecting to their vast network, you reduce the stress of dealing with multiple balances and partners. Just one connection gives you multiple currency collections and disbursements across markets, competitive FX rates, float continuity, and customized FX solutions for real-time payments. Every solution built is focused on your business growth. For your tailored treasury and FX solutions, go to

Justin Norman: I think the takeaway for me, for all three of you, is you saw that there is a gap, and this is, I suppose, fairly obvious that the banks, in particular, aren't able to either reach the last mile, aren't provisioning credit, just aren't servicing customers in a user-friendly way. And so all of you decided to go for that. And I'm curious now as you've scaled, especially, how you think about this role that you play relative to the banks. We have this idea that the banks aren't innovative. They can't reach the last mile, etcetera, etcetera. I think there's, you know, capital requirements with Central Bank that makes it hard for them to lend. There's just sort of legacy infrastructure and institutions. 

Justin Norman: Maybe Tosin I'll start with you because, you know, you came from Interswitch. You dealt with the banks a lot. You had built banking infrastructure. So how do you think about that, like, where you stand, Moniepoint stands today as it relates to the financial services landscape as a whole in Nigeria?

Tosin Eniolorunda: I think given enough time, we will all probably end up in similar places. Banks will be like Fintechs. Fintechs will be like banks. Fintechs will be like each other, because as you're seeking growth, you can grow deeper. You can grow wider. And your wider might be offering more products, which makes you start to do whatever that person is doing. Your wider can also become going to more geographies. I think eventually, everybody will be like, you know, we'll be like ourselves. But talking about banks, I think banks fundamentally I was listening to Babs, and he's right about it. The problem is the way they think.

Tosin Eniolorunda: Unless you change banking leadership to become like a tech-first organization that is run with products, science decision-making, and engineering at the forefront, I think they will always be classic bankers. And so the way I look at it is that as long as the leadership of both different factual banks and Fintechs remain the same, Fintechs that are going product and engineering our customer and data-driven decision-making will possibly move ahead. 

Tosin Eniolorunda: There is one elephant in the room. It's the license. I think fintechs are a little bit afraid to get banking licenses until you get to a second level, mostly because of the way classic banks are valued on a netbook basis. A lot of us are valued on revenue multiples, and you are afraid of valuation compression on that. But if you want to kind of really, really be honest with yourself, eventually down the line, if you want to continue growing and handle as much customers as possible with the trust level they expect them to have for you, I think you need to get a banking license, which will make you become one. And if you take a look at Nubank, I think Nubank now has a banking license.

Laurin Hainy: They always had one.

Tosin Eniolorunda: They always had one. Exactly. I hear Revolut is really pushing hard to get a back license. So eventually, fintech will now be about how you think, not just the license sale. How do you run the business? And is your finance being really truly powered by technology and products? And then, eventually, I posit,  it's not like I posit, I already do a bit of what FairMoney classically does, Kuda is doing a bit of what Moniepoint is doing, a bit of what FairMoney is doing. We just have our all, different strongholds, which I think we all hold on to and begin just to develop other aspects of the businesses. That's I think how it will live out.

Justin Norman: From a FairMoney perspective, I think a lot of people talk about the banks have so much capital. So to solve, like, an SME lending issue, we want the banks ultimately to deploy that capital, but it feels quite more fetched that they're gonna do like SME lending or consumer lending certainly as well as either some of the vertical players or as well as FairMoney. So I'm wondering from your perspective, like, if everything is gonna converge or if you're like, I don't feel that concerned about the banks doing lending better than I'm doing.

Laurin Hainy: I think we should consult a bit of history here to understand the problem. Because so if I talk to my grandparents about what we do or my older uncles, right, I don't know if you have the same experience, but they would still remember that when they were sort of 25, 30, or I'm 33 now, my age. At that time, the GTBanks and Axis Banks and, now, Zenith Banks, they actually started to innovate. And at that time, the innovation of new generation banks. Maybe that's not the same for everyone, but what in my family, they would still remember is so prior to that, you would get a check, to get paid that way, either in cash or you get a check. You have to go to the bank branch at the 29th or 30th to collect the check and you get the money. That's how you would use the bank. Right?

Laurin Hainy: And so what those new generation banks would do, they would start to import the new technology that's called ATM. So, you know, instead of needing a check that you need to physically collect, you get the card, and you go to the ATM, you collect the salary there. So that was just a new technology that they adopted. The old guys, they didn't understand it. They didn't have the right leadership and mentorship to say, okay, we got to change.

Laurin Hainy: Because there were still a bunch of clients that didn't mind to use the check that lived next to a bank branch. Right? I think, like, in the end, what we are doing here is not that different. We're just using a different way of decision-making on and another technology, which is, like, mobile-first, no branches. And 20 years down the line there's probably gonna still be some of the current guys that will make the switch. And then there will probably be 2 or 3 of rusts, none of us sitting here, maybe not even of us sitting here, maybe some other guy, but in the end, I'm confident 2 or 3 of neobanks are gonna have some kind of scale. 

Justin Norman: I think Tosin’s playing the ground game. I  know you guys have gotten into point of sale as well. Lending money is it's easy to give out money. It's hard to collect money. But I think in terms of customer acquisition or lending perspective, this sort of pure play neobank is interesting because I think that there's Nubank, right, which is the darling and right if Kuda can be the Nubank of Africa, that, you know, wouldn't that be great? But then there's a number of banks that have struggled in Europe, for example, with profitability and they look at subscription models and other things and I heard you up on the stage talk about product diversification, for example. But how do you think about this question as it relates to your approach, knowing that you're sort I guess, moving in both directions? Like, lending, distribution, you know, from the middle.

Babs Ogundeyi: Yeah. Absolutely. So for me, I think the starting point is always the customer. And the customer wants many things. The customer wants credit. The customer wants lots of different products. A customer that's a retail customer potentially is also a business customer. So the way I think about it is the first point of call is how do I own the customer? Not for anything in particular, but just how do I own the customer from the first point of call? Because the first point of call is that account. So how do I how do I become that account? Once I'm that account, then I can offer other things. So it becomes complimentary. So I can do credit.

Babs Ogundeyi: And moreover, I kinda need to remember the first comment I made about sort of scaling credit. I need the deposit. The cash is my inventory. So I need to build the cheapest possible deposit-taking entity to be able to even do credit. So if I'm really good at credit, but I don't have that inventory, it ups the the stakes for me. And that's kind of how I approached it. It doesn't necessarily mean it's the correct way or the wrong way. It's just the way that worked, at least for my thought process. 

Babs Ogundeyi: I knew I had to also build trust. It's easier to sort of do credit once you have trust. I don't know how easy it is for to find, customers to come to you naturally as a sort of to deposit money. I know it's certainly very difficult. We had to do a lot of work convincing and convincing. So I just thought let's put all our energy into building out that trust as an asset class. And then, you know, of course, collection is still a big deal for credit, but you know that there will be demand. You know people will come, you know, once you figure out how to collect, which is the one that you've obviously spent, you know, years 

**Laurin Hainy: **Look, I think I think that I think all of us have made the experience that let's say, I've made the experience. I don't know about you guys. I'm sure you've made the same. You know, you're seeing someone else doing well or something works to someone else, and then you're thinking, okay. I gotta do the same thing.

Justin Norman: So you guys knew each other's business well?

Tosin Eniolorunda: Of course.

Babs Ogundeyi: Oh, yeah.

**Laurin Hainy: **I'm sure, you know, obviously, I was very curious about what Kuda's doing, And then he was also curious about what I'm doing, then I want to know what he's doing. He wanted to know, okay, let me also do lending. It's the normal thing to do. And then we also look at who's doing what in Egypt, Kenya. In the end, the conversion set in Africa is small. My experience is very quickly, very quickly, you're getting to a point that makes you appreciate the sophistication necessary in this business. Because if it would be easy, I mean, in all service, if anything would be easier, I'll be doing it, and there would really be no opportunity. Right? 

Laurin Hainy: If it would be easy to run a merchant acquirer. And if it would be a gold mine, then everyone would be doing it. If it if it would be easy to give loans, then everyone would be doing it. If it would be easy to mobilize lots of deposit, and we're doing it. You know? So very quickly, we realized, okay, this is actually hard. And then you fail, and then and then it's And you get it.

Tosin Eniolorunda: And then and then you get to it.

Laurin Hainy: You fail. You fail again, and then you do a bit better. And there's a reason why we're doing this for 6 years. This man is doing it for 8, 9. You know? This when you're doing something, it's not that we're sitting there and do nothing. Right? Learn. Learn. Learn. Learn. Learn. Learn.

Justin Norman: And how does that affect product diversification decisions that you make and also expansion? Because I think it's hard enough to diversify product in one market. I think there's a question about Nigeria's big country. It's pretty deep. I know that, you know, to various degrees, you guys have been looking outside of different markets. Thinking about, like, trying to go deeper into, you know, servicing a customer, building out what you're doing, different products in Nigeria versus then going abroad?

Laurin Hainy: Look, everyone has thought about it, and I think my opinion is there's only wrong decisions because you're dealing with a currency that you can’t predict and that's doing really poorly. Right? So any decision, I think, that you would have taken, potential is to talk about in hindsight as the right or wrong thing to do because we focused a lot in Nigeria, and I was really I didn't want to think a lot about expansion just because it's hard and, like, you don't get it and you get a different language and then they do business differently and then you try to acquire them and then the bank and it's hard?

Tosin Eniolorunda: So I think ultimately it’s a bandwidth question. So, you know what they say about focus. Execution is really hard. You need to escape velocity to launch a product. And as a startup, you are starting up, you have minimal resources, and these resources need to be devoted such that anything you focus on needs to reach its escape velocity. So it's a bandwidth question. And this is the fundamental reason why you need to focus. But usually, what now happens is that when you mature a product, the band is required to continue running that product reduces because it's matured. It's now an adult. It can take care of itself. You've bird gotten burnt. You've done everything. Then you can focus on the next things to do. 

Tosin Eniolorunda: But the way to look at it, however, is a bandwidth. Because if you look at organizations like Amazon, Microsoft, Google, they launch products, shitload of products. Some fail, some succeed. They have large organizations, plenty verticals. So this is not a question of why organizations cannot actually succeed at having multiple verticals. It's a question of bandwidth. This bandwidth is about one, your execution maturity in terms of processes systems, 2, investments we can make in terms of, you know, capital into the product itself, as well as every other factors of execution or production that you need. 

Tosin Eniolorunda: So in essence, as a startup, we are still battling with majority of your core products and you have limited resources. To get this escape velocity, you should focus on a few products. As you begin to grow, I have more resources, I have matured, I know how to do things business as usual. Then you can actually work on more products. Now more these new more products are now being more products, different geographies, different products in different geographies. So I think that's the way to look at it.

Babs Ogundeyi: I agree, you know, on the bandwidth issue. But I think being a highly regulated entity adds a different level of complexity. Because you know the regulations are different in different countries.

Tosin Eniolorunda: Which complicates the bandwidth requirement. So that's essentially because bandwidth is a complication is a complexity solving thing. Execution is about fixing complexities. So because you now have multiple regulations in different jurisdictions, adds more layers of complexity. But as you mean, you've done it before, business as usual. You know the FC. You know what they are looking for. You can do it again and again and again. It's not a big deal to you. They can easily expand. 

Tosin Eniolorunda: So the real limitation that you have is bandwidth. And different organizations have different bandwidth. There are organizations that just manage to get to where they are. The organizations are really, really matured. If an Amazon said that they are coming to do my business in Nigeria and they devoted their bandwidth in Nigeria, I will be afraid.

Babs Ogundeyi: I disagree with you. That I mean, you should be worried. I think you have something that they don’t.

Tosin Eniolorunda: Like I said, they devoted their bandwidth to it because at the top, there are few important things. But because the bandwidth is so large, there are multiple things they're working on at different places, the focus is different.

Babs Ogundeyi: How would Amazon would deal with CBN? 

Laurin Hainy: They would find someone..

Tosin Eniolorunda: Exactly.

Babs Ogundeyi: But I think one thing I wanna overlay…

Tosin Eniolorunda: Or the acquire. It's all about money. Exactly. So it's all about resources there. It’s so much about resource thing. We convert sweat equity eventually to capital. That's what we do. That's what entrepreneurs do. But they have done it. They have shitload of capital. They don't need… to execute, they don't even need to do it, they simply acquire.

Justin Norman: But there's a lot of examples of companies coming to Nigeria from South Africa, for example, and they failed.

Tosin Eniolorunda: And there are also tons of they also succeeded.

Justin Norman: Yeah. There's both.

Tosin Eniolorunda: So like I said, it's simply a bandwidth thing. Nigeria is complex. That's the point. Between regulation, markets, people, the resources required to execute it. But do you have the resources in terms of people, knowledge, processes, and systems to aim to execute it? That's that's what's required. So if I want to expand to Kenya now, I am a little bit afraid. Like, here's a matured market with the same level of complexities, regulation, capable competition, the bandwidth requirement to really succeed at that. Even if I took away all my things from Nigeria and focused on just care, would I still have succeeded? So I I think, ultimately, that's just the way to look at it. So that's the framework that can connect small startups expansion to big startups expansion. It's it's just a bandwidth.

Laurin Hainy: I wanna just add one thing because I think what Tosin is saying is an interesting way to look at it. But I think there's another complexity that we haven't talked about. And that's why the point I tried to make on currency, right? Because in the end, if you expand, in the end, it's like a resource allocation question. And what you're really looking for is I'm making this investment decision of time. He calls it bandwidth resourcing, my team's time or money. And I'm expecting a certain ROI on it. I wanna either generate more revenue or get something for the story or whatever the driver is.

Laurin Hainy: There's there's different drivers. And especially, we talk about expansion. A lot of expansion is done to be able to say, but the point I wanna make is, so why it's hard to take the right decision in Nigeria when it's about expansion is that I mean, the fundamental input on outcome output of resource is how much time do I invest and what do I get back.

Laurin Hainy: But if a currency is heavily unstable, you are actually very it's hard to predict that output because you could spend a lot of time and the Naira is doing well, and the product is proceeding in the business plan as you have projected it. So let's say we start upon the same machine device business or call us in the highest tons of good people for lending. Because the currency is shrinking by 300%, your real dollar ROI is really negative or low. And or you that same applies when you expand. You could also say, I wanna expand the product.

Laurin Hainy: You spend all of your resources on it. You go to Uganda or Kenya, but, you know, the product is doing okay, but your loan currency is actually shrinking, though the product is actually doing extraordinary without so you need to think about that as well. And one other thing, also, when we talk about expansion, you also have to think about none of the products that we are running are the same and are also completely translatable into other markets. So you can't do big-scale agency banking business or US business in Kenya. Lending looks completely different in Kenya too. So the expensive story in Africa is a complicated world because the users are different. The regulatory landscape is different. Everything is different. 

Justin Norman: This episode of The Flip is sponsored by Onafriq. The lending business model should be simple, disperse loans and collect repayments. But when it involves bulk payouts or loan collections in multiple currencies, it's still simple because Onafriq’s real-time bulk payment service is built to simplify your lending business. Their plug-and-play solution designed to streamline your processes helps you to manage loan repayment reconciliations effortlessly, receive a settlement in a currency of your choice, and reduce the cost associated with bulk payments. As an omnichannel payments network, their connections make it possible to offer your customers to an extensive range of payment options. With over 500,000,000 mobile wallets, 200,000,000 bank accounts across 40 African countries, and convenient cash pickup options in Nigeria, you can efficiently disperse loans and receive payments. Ready to scale your lending business? Visit to learn more. 

Justin Norman: So in in the context of all of that stuff that you just talked about, I think in particular, the expansion challenges and, you know, the Naira challenges. Like, we're here in New York right now at a Fintech in Africa conference with a bunch of global investors. You guys have raised a lot of money from non-African VCs, from global VCs who are expecting dollar-denominated returns. So I guess I'm curious to get your perspectives on, like, how are you thinking about growth? What is the story that you're telling to, like, the global investing community about your businesses, about the region, about Nigeria? And are there any, I suppose, like, lessons or points of hope or anything that are particularly important to share? Babs?

Babs Ogundeyi: Yeah. Sure. I think fundamentally, you can't necessarily control a macro. I think the question you have to ask is if I build a business, if if I build a bank and it's say the top three bank in Nigeria, whatever the currency says, it's gonna be worth a lot of money. So I think you just have to look at it not just the short term, but also sort of mid to long term. Because honestly, you know, as we've talked about, expansion is complex. You wanna diversify risk, currency risk, you know, that might land you in hot water. But you just need to focus on on the fundamentals of the business. You know? Are your customers growing?

Babs Ogundeyi: Is your revenue and local currency growing? And are you becoming a big player in your market? And, you know, you look at Nigeria, history of Nigeria. We have always had currency devaluation. I remember when, you know, dollar was 120. I remember when it went to .50, it was crazy. I thought, oh my, you know, oh my god. But we still had back then, we still had big banks, and they were still worth a lot of money. Today, currencies 700, you know, I mean not today, but it's gone up to 450, 700, 1500.

Babs Ogundeyi: The big banks they're still big banks and they're still extremely valuable. So I think the the whole currency thing is more around, you know, timing. You can become super successful today or actually if you're unlucky like we kind of have been in this moment in time, it just elongates, the the time to choose success. But I think if you have fundamentally a good business, I think it's still a great story.

Justin Norman: Yeah. You wanna tell us what you think?

Tosin Eniolorunda: Yeah. I think, I mean, people following on what Babs just said, fundamentally, investors are interested in returns. I'm I'm like, if there's anything that's less sentimental is finance. I don't give a flying fuck about…

Babs Ogundeyi: We'll edit that part….

Tosin Eniolorunda: Give me my returns. And when people are judging returns, they are looking at pure growth. They are looking at the risks also come with those growth. And different of investors at different stages have different risk appetite and this different growth expectation to back it up. And I think ultimately, exits, generally expected to be in the profile of no risk, moderate returns. I mean, global. And that's where Nigeria comes in because, first, the macros of Nigeria in terms of currency violation adds more risk, but there's also more risk in addition to the actual macro risk. And it's the risk of opacity. And that's why this conference is good. You you are generally risk averse to something that you don't know.

Tosin Eniolorunda: And the markets that are actually the most liquid, the US markets, actually don't have a lot of knowledge about Nigeria or Africa. And this increases your perceived risk in addition to market risk. That is why the vessels that we eventually invest in you are investors that understand it. And those investors have a way they already manage the risk, the price of risk. They are comfortable with the risk.

Tosin Eniolorunda: IFC is still investing. Propaco is still investing. Africa-focused PEs are still investing. So, essentially, if you look at it on that fundamental basis, it means that if you wanna go to certain markets like the US, especially in the stable of times, you are going to be either they are not interested because they have better returns on investments with less risk, risk, or or maybe you get bad pricing. Most likely, they would just say no because because of the risk. So that's the way to look at it. So that's why I'm not blaming the investors. So if I wanted to do anything in the future, I will try to find ways in which looking at the kind of markets I want to exit, how can I improve my profile to them? Which means, of course, they'll do all the good things, have a good bottom line, be growing rapidly, improve the risk perception, which is why all of us are trying to most of us, I believe, are trying to diversify.

Tosin Eniolorunda: And diversification in at that stage can't just even be on an optical level. It has to be on a real level on the basis of revenue that's coming in terms of share. So I think that's simply the way to look at the reality of African markets. Now, the solution to it is for Africa itself to develop such that the stock markets or the public markets in the countries themselves actually become really viable, really, really liquid.

Tosin Eniolorunda: They are going to be the best supporters. If Nigerian stock markets actually begin to give good multiples to fintechs, and Nigeria became quite liquid,  I think this will actually encourage foreign investors themselves to actually price us the way it is. But for now, these are factors who can produce. You just need to handle your business in a way as if the worst-case scenario is dividends. 

Laurin Hainy: Maybe two things that so first, I agree with Tosin. I think the mean, it doesn't get less sentimental than than finance. Right? And the reason why our investors or all of the guys that I hear invest is to make money more.That's their essential task. The money that is still investing in Africa now is oftentimes money that actually has a different job, not necessarily make money more. But IFC’s investing, Proparco’s investing. All of these names are investing, but most of their LPs are actually not return driven investors. They have a different job. They have make the money, not less. And develop the country, right? 

Laurin Hainy: So if you ask me, like, how I generally feel about venture returns in Africa, I think the returns can be there, but you need people with a different job description because only those can have a realistic timeline. We didn't talk about time. Return is a question of percentage of increase over a period of time. So what happens if the currency devalues, for example, is that you're losing time? Essentially, it's making the whole thing you did in 4 years, making it 6 years because you need another 3 years.

Laurin Hainy: So the kind of investors I think that are going to look at Africa now and learn from it and are going to continue investing are still going to be invested that have a slightly different visibility and view on what is the risk I'm happy to take and what job am I needing to do. And I wish, I really hope, right, that this Investo pool can grow, right, so that we don't only have the DFI, DFI's and DFI backed. Right? You have DFIs and then you have DFI backed, Helios and whatever the name is. And then in the best case scenario, yes, Thorsten says, is to develop, like, a play field that actually does, like, decently okay like, let's say, LatAm style. It doesn't need to be the US, but LatAm style where if the currency does badly, it performs 15 percent and expectation, not 300. And then you get people that are high risk, high return seaters. And that I hope we will in 10, 15 years sit here and have just a bit of bigger investment.

Justin Norman: I think it's happening. I mean, I'm making that bet as well. So right that people will start to look at this market more as they do Latin America, India, or China. As my last final question for each of you, as I was hearing you guys speak, I thought it was quite interesting to think about like comparing banks. And we look in the startup ecosystem a lot and we say that, these guys are all doing the same thing. Right? And why is everyone building the same thing? Even though you guys are all doing it from a different perspective, when you think about banks, there's enough room in the market for, you know, how many banks are in Nigeria? Ten banks.

Justin Norman: And so I guess with that in mind, I'm curious to think about what you guys each think success looks like for your respective companies and then how that informs, I guess, like what the market looks like in Nigeria and across the continent from a competitive perspective, you know, over the next 5, 10, 15 years? How whatever time horizon you're thinking about for how you're building and what success looks like. You wanna go first, Babs?

Babs Ogundeyi: Sure. The good thing about banking specifically is it's never a winner takes all. I think the risks are just is just too high for a regulator to allow one single dominant player just because, you know, they have to look after essentially, they have to look after depositors' funds. If you look at all the markets like banking generally, there's usually at least 3, key players. Sometimes it will be 5 or 6. Even take Nigeria, you have yes, we have 25 or so banks, but essentially, we have, I would say, 5 big banks that control, I would say, 70% of the deposit base. And it's like that everywhere else. Even in in in the UK, you have HSBC and Atlas or a couple Lloyds, you know, and then you have the others. Same in America. So I think I'm happy that there are strong players, in the digital banking space because it it makes it acceptable. It makes it mainstream. It makes it legitimate. It brings credibility to it. There shouldn't be too many, you know.

Justin Norman: But you're 3. That's enough.

Babs Ogundeyi: And I think very quickly, we're already seeing, like, who who is shaped to kind of be the players. So, yeah, from a competitive landscape, because we're still kind of maturing, we can only hope that the key players, the important players, the systematically important players actually succeed. So even though, you know, Toshi and Laurin, I see them as, competition. But I actually also need them not to fail Because it kind of brings the whole house down. If like, you know, we haven't even really launched properly and they're already failing, so the smaller guys…

Tosin Eniolorunda: I need them be alive. 

Babs Ogundeyi: Just be alive. That's what I said. I didn’t say I need them to succeed. I said I need them not to fail.

Laurin Hainy: You can be around. 

Babs Ogundeyi: But it's true. You know? It just puts more pressure on the whole credibility of digital banking because that's really what we're trying to do here. We want it to be mainstream. Once it's mainstream, it's actually relatively easy to acquire customers because naturally people need financial services. They will come to one of us. So, yeah. And that's how I see, you know, competition in the space. 

Tosin Eniolorunda: Okay. On exits, so what does success look like? I mean, being venture backed, there's an expectation of make giving a return. And I think a lot of, investors have, like, a phone life, which implies at a certain time, they have an expectation that you return their money in bulk. So I think part of the success metric would mean generating some form of exits. Success metric also will include be getting the company to a level of maturity that you don't need to be donating a pint of your blood every week to get it running. Success metric, and that means some level of maturity in terms of product compliance, processes, finances, finance.

Tosin Eniolorunda: I have impact goals. I think most of us have impact goals. Success will also mean reaching our impact objectives in terms of lives touched for businesses and for consumers across geographies. So for for I mean, for us for me, for us, it's in the next couple of years, be able to return some money, meeting at least the ROI objectives, exceeding the expectations, to our investors, shareholders, employees that have also devoted a lot of their life into the product, into the company. And then secondly, we now be also maybe somebody else is is attending and doing the flip, and I can rest somewhere. I don't know if that's a pipe dream, but, it's it's obviously going to be I need to be able to spend more time with my daughter, my son. But right now, it's just hard, you know? A lot. So I think so I think for those things, those are the key metrics for success for me.

Laurin Hainy: I think on the what success let's start with the competition one. Right? So, I mean, my thought on competition is I get to think about it more and more. Depending on which product you have, you will always have competition. It's And then, you know, the interesting thing is because Africa is in the later end of venture building. So most of the models that we built, take merchant acquiring, already are matured in many other markets. So Tosin shares that. But if you talk to venture investor about merchant acquiring, the first reaction would be, ah, you have to look at your margin because essentially, eventually, it's gonna be competed away, and you have to do other other services. Right? So they see that they have this muscle memory.

Laurin Hainy: So I got to think about competition really as whatever you do, you are going to have competition. And these are like market dynamics that are never gonna change. There's always people that are hungry for growth. You are never going to be the smartest guy in the room. And if you're lucky, you're you're going to be part of the 20% that makes 80% of the volume, the revenue, the gross profit has 80% of the customer.

Laurin Hainy: So in that sense, I look at, competition just as a forcing function to always do their best job, and it rewards you if you are, and it punishes you if you are not. That's my thought on competition. I mean, generally, within family, we try not to overthink and overspend time on competition. We use competition as a benchmark, but we don't use it to inform what we do. And definitely, we never use it to inform how we do it.I think that's something we are very particular about. 

Laurin Hainy: Then on returns, look, on how how does success look like? I tend to agree with what Tosin is saying. I mean, for me, there's 3 different ways. The first one is people gave us money, and we claim to be able to make a venture story in Africa work. Right? That is the claim that we did, I did, and many others did. And I I think it's going to be and this is laughing, but my thinking is it's going to be very hard for all of us, lots of work, to prove that this actually can happen. Some people are going to try to do an IPO here, you know, another way.

Laurin Hainy: There's a lot of pressure, and we have to deliver. And I think my my my first and foremost responsibility is I wanna if people that trust me 6 years ago to build a business in Nigeria and everyone told us you are crazy, and everyone told them you are crazy, I wanna make sure they are very wealthy based on that decision. And then I also wanna make my employees wealthy because these are guys that I I mean, I have those, you have them. They are working with me for sometimes 6, 7 years. And they do that because I have a talent that is motivating people for something I believe is the right thing to do. So let me prove that that actually was the right decision. Right? That that's that is the number.

Laurin Hainy: That's the tool most important. If we achieve any any of that, and the scale of that, you know, the scale of that can differ, right? It will be very difficult for me to provide someone that invests in NewBank 5 years ago with that same return. That is not the bar. It can be the bar. But maybe 50% of that, that would already be a success.

Justin Norman: Yeah. Do you just want to talk about what success looks like for Kuda, and then we can leave it there?

Babs Ogundeyi: Yeah. Of course. I mean, I definitely agree with Laurin and Tosin. You know, return to your stakeholders, your investors. I see my employees as also my investors because they're investing their time essentially to to to the vision, to the dream. So, yeah, it's gonna be it's a big, big challenge. You're sometimes it feels like you're swimming against the tide a lot of the times. But, I also believe that, you know, even when you're swimming against the tide, if you if you don't give up, if you keep swimming, you will get to the other end. But to your point, it's just it's gonna take you longer to get there. But, of course, if you're swimming with the tide, it's just easy. Everything is you're there there's that momentum. But the swim has to be made We just need not to drown in the memory, and we will get to the other side. I'm confident with that.

Justin Norman: Too much agreement amongst you guys in this conversation. No. I understand. But I appreciate all of you guys taking the time. I really do. We should leave it there. Yeah?

Laurin Hainy: Cool. Absolutely. 

Justin Norman: Thank you so much. I appreciate it.

Babs Ogundeyi: Absolutely. Thank you.