Event summary & highlights
Case Study Background:
Nomad began operating with the vision to launch a digital bank that would integrate all of a user’s bank accounts from across the globe into one account for easy access and management on a single platform. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), commercial banks, and service providers (e.g. attorneys and subject-matter experts) all expressed different strategies and requirements for how to get the app off of the ground. The takeaway from these conversations was that recommendations were inconsistent and, in some cases, conflicting with actual practice or law. Without the correct licenses and partners on board, the founders were unable to launch their digital banking platform and instead pivoted with the release of an integrated money management app. Additionally, from a non-regulatory perspective, the market and regulatory inconsistencies resulted in reduced investor confidence and delayed fundraising.
A cohort of stakeholders (see speakers below) came together in a 90-min session to dissect Nomad’s challenges and propose recommendations for how Nomad, and other early-stage startups, can address them moving forward. Proposed solutions included:
- Forming of strategic partnerships with commercial banks to piggyback of their licenses in lieu of obtaining their own
- Launching an alternative product early would help Nomad obtain the traction and customer base needed to grow their ecosystem and obtain the capital needed to apply for a banking license
- Alternate licenses, such as the Microfinance Banking License, may be a good alternative for startups looking to enter the banking space but have capital and access limitations.
About the process
Held in partnership with Ovamba, Dissecting the Issue: A Virtual Sandbox Event brought together stakeholders to discuss and address the real challenges faced by African-focused startups and small businesses.
As the first step, we accepted applications from African entrepreneurs who had clearly identified the hurdles preventing them from achieving their goals. From this application process we selected Nigerian-based Nomad Money to provide the case study for the sandbox event. Egyptian startup Amanleek and Nigerian-based Social Lender were selected as runners up and will each receive complimentary consulting sessions from our team of advisors.
Following the selection process, we invited a group of stakeholders to participate in the sandbox event to further dissect and address the challenges faced by Nomad Money.
Cofounder and President,
Viola Llewellyn is Co- Founder & President of Ovamba, an award winning African “TradeTech” company. Ovamba’s solutions combine innovative Sharia compliant structures with e-commerce, logistics services, and technology to drive financial inclusion and promote growth. In June of 2018, Ovamba was selected by WEF as a Global Technology Pioneer, securing a 2-year Ambassadorship and a place at the prestigious “Davos Summit” conference. Ms. Llewellyn’s past career includes building a $50M life insurance investment fund for a DC-based insurance investment firm. She has held positions at Unisys Corporation, IBM, KPMG Consulting, BearingPoint and Rothschild’s. Ms. Llewellyn was listed in the “Digital Undivided Report” as one of only 34* Black women in the USA to have raised more than $1 million for a technology company. She is listed on Innovate Finance’s 2016 & 2017 “Women in FinTech Power List” and on “The Innov8tiv’s Top 50 Visionary Women in Tech To Watch in 2017” list. Her family is originally from Cameroon. She was born, raised and educated in the U.K. and lives between the African Continent and the USA.
Case Study Applicant
Cofounder and CEO,
Prior to co-founding Nomad Money in 2019, George spent more than 10 years contributing to and leading cross-functional teams for complex technical implementations and digital transformation projects in the UK and Europe. In 2006, he co-founded the UK-based Phoebe School, a nursery and primary school that teaches British and Nigerian curriculum and promotes equality in education for children and adults through community initiatives. George was educated in Electronic Systems Design and Entrepreneurship from Oxford Brookes University and the University of Oxford, respectively.
Dr. Anino Emuwa
Founder and Managing Director,
Dr. Anino Emuwa is an international management consultant and the founder of Avandis Consulting, a strategy and financial advisory firm, based in France. Anino began her career in Corporate Banking with Citibank and has since developed extensive expertise in entrepreneurship. She is a member of the Grant Advisory Committee for the Sustainable and Inclusive Digital Financial Services initiative supported by the Gates Foundation and is on the board of DCSL Corporate Services. She is a member of the 2020 Judges Community for the Jack Ma Foundation’s Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative, a strategy coach for Cartier Women’s Initiative and mentor for the University of Cambridge Judge Business School’s EntrepriseWOMEN program. Dr. Emuwa regularly speaks and writes on topics of entrepreneurship, emerging technologies, and advocates for diversity in leadership. Her affiliations include Forbes, Cambridge Judge Business School, Entrepreneur, Global Banking and Finance Review, Women @Davos, and the Africa Women CEOs Network.
Acting Head of the Payments System Initiatives Division,
Payment Systems Management Department
Central Bank of Nigeria
Chika Ugwueze has worked with the Central Bank of Nigeria for the past 16 years. He has held various roles at CBN with responsibilities in banking supervision, prudential and macro-prudential policy and regulation, and currently, payments system policy and regulation. His division has responsibility for the development and implementation of a payments system vision and strategy. The Payment System Management Department anchored the production of the Exposure Draft of the Regulatory Sandbox Framework. Chika was educated in Accounting and Finance and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria.
Group Head of Digital Banking,
Frank is the Group Head of Digital Banking at ProvidusBank. Frank is a fintech professional who operates at the confluence of design, finance, and technology. Skilled at creative problem solving and in delivering rapid and sustainable impact, he has a track record as a leader who thrives on inspiring and developing talent, and in bringing disruptive & innovative solutions to the market. He has a deep understanding of eBusiness and the drivers for growth and excellent financial performance. He has a massive interest in learning and leveraging new knowledge to take on new challenges and opportunities.
Baylis Emerging Markets
Franklin Olakunle Amoo is a co-founder and managing partner of Baylis Emerging Markets where he invests and sits on the boards of several companies in Africa. Prior to co-founding Baylis, Franklin helped lead the Strategic Credit Group at Mizuho Securities USA, the securities brokerage arm of the US $1.8 trillion Mizuho Financial Group. He has also held roles at Deutsche Bank, Bank of America, and Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. In addition to his role at Baylis, Franklin is co-founder of the Africa Pandemic Response Alliance, serves on the business advisory board of the Ooni of Life (the traditional ruler of the Yoruba people of West Africa), chairs the Loan Market Association’s Task Force on African Secondary Loan Trading, is VP of the Executive Committee of the Collegiate School Alumni Association, and serves on the Prep for Prep Associates Council. Franklin is a Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst, holds a BA in Economics from Columbia University and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania where he was a Howard E. Mitchell and Venture Incubation Program Fellow.
Lexi Novitske moved from the USA to Nigeria in 2012. In 2014 she launched Singularity Investments, a private capital-backed venture investment firm that backed market champions in fintech and enterprise software including Paystack, Flutterwave, mPharma, and Migo. In 2019, Lexi acquired the firm’s portfolio and launched Acquity Venture Partners continuing Singularity’s mission to invest in technology companies that drive trade and financial identity across Africa. Prior to this, Lexi managed investments for African private equity firm Verod Capital Management, focused on Africa investments at Small Enterprise Assistance funds, and covered financial services at New York-based Sandler O’Neill Asset Management. Lexi is a board member at several early-stage companies and faculty member and mentor to several accelerators and start-up academies. Lexi is a CFA Charterholder and a Kauffman Fellow.
Prof. Olayinka David-West
Program Lead, Sustainable and Inclusive Digital Financial Services Initiative;
Lagos Business School
Prof. Olayinka David-West is an information systems professional with over two decades experience in the IT and financial services industry. Prof. David-West is the Academic Director and sits on the Management Board at the Lagos Business School, the premier business school in Nigeria. She leads the Sustainable and Inclusive Digital Financial Services (SIDFC) initiative, a research and advocacy department dedicated to enhancing financial inclusion in Nigeria. She is also a governing council member of the Fintech Association of Nigeria. Prof. David-West holds several certifications in her field of study including CISA and CGEIT and is certified as a digital money specialist by the Digital Frontiers Institute and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.
Balogun Harold Legal
Olubunmi is a technology and investment lawyer and Founding Partner at Balogun Harold Legal. He primarily focuses on the FinTech, Infrastructure, and Power & Energy sectors in Nigeria. Olubunmi also founded LagosSaturdaySchool, an interventionist educational program for students of public secondary schools in Nigeria.
5554 Technologies LTD (dba BANKLY™)
Tomilola Adejana is currently CEO of 5554 Technologies LTD, popularly trading as BANKLY™, a company she founded while doing research with the Accion Venture Lab Company Builder program. Tomi started her career as a financial analyst at Meristem before pursuing her MBA in Singapore and Australia. She has previous startup experience as Head of Business, Aledin Nano Limited where she developed and managed products such as SmartCredit, a micro-lending product on AccessMoney – a partnership product with Airtel Networks Limited and Access Bank – using alternative data sources to determine credit eligibility of the unbanked. Tomi was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria. She studied at the University of Lagos and is the winner of the Innovating Justice Challenge 2020.