Sweating the details with Chipper Cash
Chipper Cash was set up to make sending and receiving money across town and across Africa fast and easy for everyone. As expansion comes the company is now looking at how they can make their service even easier and more relevant for their customers. This quarter Ding talks to Hasan Luongo, the man responsible for Growth Marketing, about the company’s journey, and how keeping your eye on the details and your product offering are key to success.
Ding: Tell us about Chipper Cash, your role, and what was the inspiration for the company?
Hasan: Chipper Cash is the mobile app that lets you send and receive money across Africa the fast and easy way with free transfers and the lowest cross-border rates. We’re currently live in seven countries with more coming soon. My team spans user acquisition, activation and retention, monetization, and product development. The inspiration came from our two founders’ struggles with sending and receiving money while growing up in Uganda and Ghana. They noticed how expensive, unreliable and inconvenient it was and knew there could be a better way. So they set off to tackle that huge problem and make it a reality.
Ding: What is unique about the company?
Hasan: Empathy and solving our customers’ pain points around sending money cross-border is at our core. Everything we do goes back to those two things.
Ding: You’re expanding – recently in SA – what’s driving the growth?
Hasan: Expansion is driven by our desire to expand Chipper to even more users, and build a broader network of people who can benefit from the app. As the network of users grows, the utility the app provides increases.
Ding: What are your top three tips for surviving and thriving as a digital first business?
1) Ship product – this is everything, you must focus on the product, sweat the details, and just keep making improvements.
2) Reliability is paramount in FinTech, you’re already facing an inherent lack of trust by simply not having branches and locations in the physical world, so the product must work.
3) Internal team morale is so important, we’re a pretty globally distributed team, and it can be lonely working from home. Finding ways for the team to socialize and connect beyond the daily work flow is a unique challenge for digital products and remote teams.
Ding: What impact has Covid-19 had on your business and your customers?
Hasan: For our customers this has meant periods of lockdown and stay at home orders which have been hugely impactful to their daily lives. On the business side, cashless payments have massively increased, so adoption of new platforms, like Chipper have accelerated. Internally we are a remote-first company with team members around the globe. However, we maintain offices in Kenya and a few other countries, so those teams have really shifted from the office to work from home, with all the usual growing pains.
Ding: How have things changed since Chipper Cash raised $8M in seed capital last year?
Hasan: We have made a few key hires across the company, launched in South Africa and continued to grow quickly in key markets. We’re continuing to focus on building the best product for our customers and expand our core team.
Ding: There are many companies looking to serve and digitise the underbanked population in Africa – what differentiates Chipper Cash?
Hasan: We actually save our users on every transaction, every day. The fees associated with many of these services are outrageous and we’re committed to simply providing a faster and easier to use service, at a lower cost.
Ding: How prevalent is mobile money in Africa and what impact has partnering with Ding had on your business and your customers?
Hasan: Mobile money is where Africa is far ahead of most regions and it’s a massive advantage – there’s great appetite for it among customers who see the benefit in terms of enabling them to transact where perhaps before they couldn’t within the traditional banking system. Ding gives our users the fastest and easiest way to buy airtime and helps to make our offering more robust. It’s a pull feature back into the product, instead of being an app people use once every few weeks or months just for sending money.
Ding: The pandemic has made digital access and financial inclusion even more important. In what way is this going to shape the future of Fintech in Africa?
Hasan: Like with Zoom, the pandemic is a fast forward button for adoption of technology trends. People are now looking for tools to solve problems instead of being told about a solution to a problem they may or may not have.
On a lighter note:
What’s your mantra or favourite saying?
What’s the single best piece of advice you ever received?
If you could go back to one historical event to witness it, what would it be and why?
What makes you roll your eyes every time you hear it?
What do you wish you had invented?