#Africa Innotribe winner IroFit seeing massive growth in Nigeria

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Nigerian mobile point of sale (mPOS) startup IroFit has reasons to celebrate after being named one of the winners of the recent Innotribe Challenge and securing massive monthly growth.

Founded in 2014, IroFit’s product ZirooPay provides an mPOS service that helps small retailers process in-store card payments in real-time and track their sales, even when there is no internet connection.

“We help them increase their sales, save time, and improve efficiency by offering more reliable payments, sales analytics and automated bookkeeping, among other things,” founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Omoniyi Olawale told Disrupt Africa.

Now in open beta in Nigeria, ZirooPay has a pipeline of more than 1,000 merchants, and is increasing its user base by 100 per cent month-on-month and total transaction values by 35 per cent month-on-month.

“More importantly, we know our users love our products because 70 per cent of them make repeat sales, a crucial metric for user satisfaction and retention,” Olawale said.

IroFit’s achievements were recognised – alongside Kenya’s Sokowatch and Rwanda’s VugaPay – at the recent Innotribe Startup Challenge, with the startup taking home EUR10,000 (US$11,000) in prize money and the chance to showcase its solution at Sibos, SWIFT’s annual global financial services conference, which takes place in Toronto in October.

Olawale said he had formed the company after experiencing the frustration associated with making card payments in Nigeria, contrasted with the ease of the process in Finland, where he lived at the time.

“The contrast was clear, and this sparked the curiosity to find a better way for small businesses to accept card payments in Nigeria,” he said.

The result is ZirooPay, IroFit’s internet-free mPOS.

“There was no reliable POS solution for small retailers. The existing ones were too expensive, plagued by high failure rates, and didn’t provide any actionable analytics to guide business decisions. Moreover, it’s a hugely underserved market, with just about 80,000 active terminals for the 35 million small businesses in Nigeria alone,” said Olawale.

This gap was also noted by investors, with a leading Nordic VC firm and angel investors from Finland, Nigeria and Canada backing IroFit to the tune of US$600,000 in 2014. The startup has also secured certification by the Nigerian Interbank Settlement Scheme, and is integrated into all Nigerian banks.

“We just concluded a pilot test with two Nigerian banks, during which our solution delivered a 95 per cent transaction success rate versus the 25 per cent national average,” said Olawale.

IroFit, which charges a percentage of every transaction it processes, is fully focused on scaling within the huge Nigerian market, but does have plans to move further afield.

“We are exploring other potential markets, and having discussions with the regulators, banks and strategic partners. We will pull the trigger when the time is right,” Olawale said.

While revenues are growing at a healthy pace, he said scaling the solution is key to future success.

“Our focus is on getting this solution into the hands of the millions of African small retailers across the continent, and helping them build great businesses. Revenue will follow when we do a good job of that,” said Olawale.

This is not always an easy process, as the process for onboarding in Nigeria is very bank-dependent.

“This slows us down considerably, as you can imagine. While we are still faster to onboard than our competition, it would be nice to be able to offer customers the full speed of our onboarding process,” said Olawale.

“We are engaging the banks and regulatory authorities to find a more efficient way to onboard merchants.”

The post Innotribe winner IroFit seeing massive growth in Nigeria appeared first on Disrupt Africa.

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