Nigerian payment gateway Amplify start-up targets the recurring payments market worth US$1.3 billion

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MEST cohort start-up SlushPay has changed its name to Amplify and gone public with its intention to capture a slice of the US$1.3 billion recurring payments market. Russell Southwood spoke to co-founder Segun Adeyemi about its ambitions.

Q: Where did the idea for SlushPay/Amplify come from?

A: My co-founder and I have years of experience in multiple parts of Nigeria’s financial ecosystem. My co-founder Maxwell was a key senior developer in one of Nigeria’s pioneer payments processing companies, and I worked in investment banking as well as in multiple technology companies. Throughout our professional experience, we realized that accepting recurring payments was a constant headache for all Nigerian businesses, and that the existing solutions were not up to the task of serving the needs of modern businesses. We joined forces to help meet this need.

Q: When did SlushPay's test period start and how many people were using it during the test period?

A: We started testing in February, 2016. We tested with 16 different businesses.

Q: What did you learn from the test period?

A: Some key learnings for us include:

- Businesses want an easier way to set up and accept payments online without the need to hire a developer to do complex integrations.

- We realized that there are a number of businesses who are not using the subscription business model simply because a solution like ours didn't exist.

- We learnt that businesses need more than just a gateway to accept recurring payments. They also need a way to create, view and manage those subscriptions plans, send reminders, forecast revenue, predict churn, and many other similar services.

- Our old name SlushPay didn't completely communicate the immense amount of value we were providing for our customers.

Q: Did you come out of the MEST programme in Nigeria?

A: My co-founder and I are a part of one of MEST’s cohort of Nigerian entrepreneurs.

Q: How are you different other payment gateways already out there?

A: We are a payment gateway that allows Nigerian businesses to accept recurring payments online. Additionally, beyond simply accepting payments, we provide a complete suite of value added services that help businesses grow and build rich, long-lasting relationships with their customers.

Whereas other financial tech providers are focused on things such as mobile money wallets, none of them have our single-minded focus on providing the tools that Nigerian businesses need to run subscription businesses. We are championing the subscription economy in Africa and want to help businesses convert one-time customers to lifetime recurring clients.

Businesses who need to accept payment, will integrate our solution into their web or mobile applications and we help them process their payments. For example, if you subscribe to a digital music subscription service that uses our gateway, you will get to interact with our gateway through the streaming service's payment page/portal on their mobile/web application.

Q: Who are you competing with in the Nigerian market?

A: We consider our biggest competitors to be the existing old-school methods by which people currently do recurring payments such as standing orders and post-dated cheques.

In 2015 alone, Nigerians paid well over $1.3 billion in recurring transactions and all of these transactions were made through laborious, highly inefficient methods. Amplify is here to help make the system of accepting and managing recurring payments fast, simple, and secure.

Q: How does the underlying payment process work?

A: Amplify is built on top of the infrastructure provided by some of Nigeria’s largest banking institutions. Thanks to this, businesses that use Amplify are able to get set up and start accepting payments quickly and securely within minutes.

Q: How are you marketing the service?

A: Our enthusiastic users have been powerful advocates for Amplify. We’re thrilled to have a user base that’s excited to tell their colleagues about how our solution helps their businesses thrive.

Q: Are you working with mobile operators?

A: None for now. We are exploring the possibility of partnership opportunities with mobile operators.

Q: How is the company funded? Are you looking for investors?

A: Amplify is entirely self-funded for now, but we’re interested in joining forces with partners who want to help champion the subscription economy in Africa.


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