Nigeria: CEO provides a snapshot of his payment processing startup

Omoniyi Kolade, CEO of Seerbit

Seerbit is a Nigerian company that provides payment processing solutions to businesses. Founded in 2019, Seerbit is headquartered in Lagos with branches in Ghana, Kenya and Senegal; it has processed over $146 million in transactions. Founder and CEO Omoniyi Kolade answers our questions.

1. Give us your elevator pitch.

Seerbit is a platform that enables all types of businesses with the digital tools they need to process payments from their customers. In Africa, customers are often limited by circumstances or location, such as the unavailability of internet or lack of access to financial services. Seerbit’s mission is to help businesses circumvent these barriers that prevent them from optimally serving their customers.

2. How does your offering differ from products such as Paystack and Flutterwave?

The biggest differentiator among paytech companies usually lies in the unique payment gap identified in the market and the strategy used to address it.

At Seerbit, we recognise that the majority of Africa’s transactions are still happening offline despite the digital boom and the growing trend of digital commerce on the continent. Our payment solution focuses on bridging the gap between online and offline usage, with innovations that defy boundaries. This will help merchants across the globe reach a larger audience, scale their operations and overall satisfy all types of customers in the most seamless way.

3. How did you finance your startup?

Seerbit is currently a bootstrapped payment solution and is looking to fundraise in the near future.

4. What challenges does your business face?

Just like most startups, Seerbit has encountered the talent acquisition challenge. As we pursue efforts to scale into other African markets, it is crucial that we hire the right blend of talents that can make our ‘payment without boundaries’ vision a reality. This process, though important, can be arduous and time consuming. Seerbit however continues to place utmost value on talent optimisation and creating a positive work culture to harvest innovation and growth for the business.

Additionally, scaling Seerbit’s solution into other African markets has proven to be quite the challenge given the uniqueness of each market. In Africa, no two countries are the same in terms of regulation, locality and customer behaviour. This demands extended financial and time commitment for thorough market research and product testing in order to innovate locally and satisfy the payment needs of all merchants.

5. So far, what has proven to be the most successful form of marketing?

Content marketing is our most successful form of marketing. At Seerbit we place value on educating our target audience on the ‘how-to’ of payment platforms, and also on broader business insights relevant for their operational success. We have successfully done this via our monthly webinars, website blog posts and social media channels.

6. Tell us about your biggest mistake.

Our biggest mistake happened in the early days of building the Seerbit solution. At the time, we were razor focused on building a robust payment solution but had failed to consider the product-market fit. Our prototype, though functional, ended up being useful to only a small fraction of the population.

We have since grown from this, and built Seerbit to be a plug and play payment solution that works for all types of businesses. We are proud to have onboarded over 1,000 merchants across eight African markets within 18 months of launch. The learning here is to always prioritise the needs of your target market and innovate as often as possible to suit the changing climate.