One of the most promising cloud software as a service platform out of Nigeria is Invoice.ng. The platform is solving one of the greatest problems of small businesses- getting paid.
Invoice.ng allows businesses of all kinds to create invoices and get paid for their product and or services without hassles.
Because of its seamless and easy to use workflow, the startup is already making waves across West African countries. In this revealing interview with Olaoye Somide, he laid out the vision of the company and how they plan to help small business owners run more efficiently with organised cash flow.
How will assess the adoption of cloud applications in Nigeria?
Adoption of cloud-based applications in Nigeria and Africa as a whole is still in its very early stage. Compared to years back, the Nigerian market is becoming more technologically aware and are adopting its use in solving their daily activities and we are playing a key role in educating our prospect users. We believe 5 years into the future, cloud applications will have tremendous adoption by Nigerians than its current state.
Being a software as a service startup how have you been able to market your product?
We operate as a B2B SaaS product and we focused our customer acquisition strategies on local platforms that have a good number of our target audience (such as business blogs and forums). We’re also leveraging Facebook unique target audience ability as a channel to reach out to businesses based on interests and demographics.
You have bigger competitors, such as Intuit, Sage and even Wave Apps, what is your edge and how do you stand out?
Most of the above named competitors are not really focusing on the Nigerian market and that is because they find it difficult to operate in Nigeria, on the other hand, we are Nigerians with deep understanding of the market and the people than these companies.
Also, the issue of payment processing is a big challenge for them. Aside from offering an easy to use invoicing solution for businesses, we also help with the payment processing for this businesses which makes it easy for our users to have alternative payment method alongside the offline channels they are currently using.
Your product is still free for now, how do you plan to monetize? Are you planning a premium version or what model are we looking at?
Currently we monetizing the product by taking a transaction fee on each invoices payment made online which is a 100 Naira fee on all local transactions and 3.5% + 100 Naira on international transactions.
We are still in the very early stage and we plan to roll-out extended business features and integrated solutions that will make up our premium version but the core of our services is going to be freemium based.
What are the new features you are looking at shipping soon?
Very soon we’re going to be shipping the API version of the platform that allows businesses with existing websites to easily integrate with our platform to automatically manage and send payment invoices or receipts of transactions.
Also we will be integrating with already existing business solutions both local and abroad to add more values for our users.
The features seems to be end to end, is the platform 100% homegrown?
We believe Africa has grown passed the level of consulting foreign experts to develop business solutions. The platform is 100% homegrown, our team is made of skilled software experts with years of experience in building scalable business solutions.
How do you plan to scale beyond Nigeria into African markets?
About 5% of our users are other African countries like Ghana, Kenya and South Africa. Scaling is not really a problem because the product is currently built to support other currencies such as USD, GBP, EUR, GHS, KSH & ZAR.
The only challenge we foresee about scaling to other African market is how we can help our users in these countries process and accept payments with easy and we currently making sure we have the right partnerships (with banks and third party payment platforms) in place to get this done.
What sector of the SME do you intend to focus to drive adoption?
Right now we are not focused on a specific sector of the SME. We are more interested in reaching out to businesses that are more internet savvy because they have proven to have the highest rate of adoption. As we scale, we may begin to focus on different sectors.
How many businesses are using Invoice.ng?
We have over 400 businesses on-board using our platform at the moment and they range from startups to small-scale business owners and freelancers.
Have you raised funding from investors and do you mind mentioning names and amount?
We believe it’s still very early to start seeking external funding to run the business. Even though we have local investors that have written to us for funding, we’re still very much comfortable with bootstrapping of the business financial needs at this stage.
Tell us about your company, how do you plan to grow revenue and hit profit?
The name of the company behind Invoice.ng is InvoiceApp Technologies Limited which is 100% Nigerian company own and managed by Nigerians.
We plan to grow revenue and hit profit very quickly with our existing monetization plan.
Tell us more about your team?
I’m currently responsible for the day-to-day operations of the business working alongside two (2) other incredible talents with experience in software development and marketing (would love to keep names of other team member private for now).
We’re also have a mentor and an advisor based in Silicon Valley and Nigeria helping to ensure that the business achieve its goal of becoming the leading small business solution provider across the country.