Nigerian fintech start-up Nearpays flew the country’s flag high at the inaugural Gitex Africa tech conference in Marrakech, Morocco, on Friday when it was awarded the coveted Fintech and Blockchain Technology category of the Supernova Challenge.
Nearpays, a full-service financial payment platform that acts as an end-to-end financial service for all our clients, beat out stiff competition to scoop the $10 000 prize.
Speaking to TechCabal after the win, Nearpays founder Victor Daniyan put into perspective what winning the competition means to his company and its future. “I’m super excited that it brings opportunities for start-ups in Nigeria, and we all have access to a better future. It shows that we can get to the top with the right platform,” Daniyan said. “This means more work.
The Gitex Africa Supernova Challenge is the biggest pitch competition in Africa, with a total cash prize of $100 000 for categories such as Cybersecurity, AI and Digital Cities, Health Tech, and Sustainability and Agritech.
“The competition was very tough. One thing I know for sure, especially for start up in Nigeria, is that we need a lot of mentorship to get to a productive stage. I’m sure that with the right mentorship, we can all do better,” Daniyan said.
“I came with the intention to win all the way from Nigeria. I was determined; I was ready. It was a surprise, but I was also very determined to win,” Daniyan said. “I took the time to understand the people hearing the pitch. I took the time to research them, what businesses they were operating in, and a little bit about their personality from their LinkedIn page. I was able to make them understand our business in a very short space of time – just going straight to the point.”
Daniyan said the prize will go a long to helping Nearpays get its payment card system licence, which costs around $15, 000.
Nearpays simplifies online payments based on the principle that payments should be seamless. The company has developed a way to put point-of-sale transactions back into the hands of users. The company says, “The experience is simple, on the go, and comes with no extra bank charges for all our users.”
“I’ve been in telecommunications for about five years now. I started with Huawei and then moved to Nokia, where I helped set up the 5G space in Nigeria. My team has helped me come up with the right decisions and product. We have continuous development.”
By most accounts Gitex Africa was an overwhelming success, bringing start-up, founders, investors, telecoms and IT companies from all over Africa and the globe together in Morocco to outline and develop the future of tech in Africa. Organisers welcomed over 900 big tech companies, government entities, start-ups and participants from more than 100 countries across ten halls and 45 000sqm of exhibition space in a purpose-built super venue at Place Bab Jdid, Bd Al Yarmouk in the Red City of Marrakech.
Fintech Prize Puts Abuja Start-ups on the Map
“It’s an awesome platform; it’s an awesome opportunity. I have not seen anything this big in a long time. I’m super excited that we have this in Africa. I’m reminded of one quote from Google that said Africa will have the next set of billions of users to appear on any tech platform in the world,” Daniyan explained. “It’s an opportunity for start-ups to connect, have mentors and show their products to the world.”
“The competition has allowed me to connect with good mentors,” Daniyan said. “Of course, I’m still young, and I need mentors who have come before me, as well as give us publicity so more people get to know about our product in Abuja because most of the start-ups that are thriving are coming from Lagos, but it’s an opportunity for people to see that Abuja is also thriving in the start-up space in Nigeria as well, coming up with the best products and new technologies coming out from Nigeria and not coming from abroad. This will inspire more start-ups and show them an opportunity for start-ups in Abuja.”