Ashley Gauzere, CEO and Founder of HUB2.io, spoke with Shanta Paratian (Manager, London). HUB2.io is a payment aggregator enabling interoperability between mobile money wallets. Ashley outlines how Africa’s mobile money market is evolving and that it will remain the main driver of financial inclusion.
1. What is the core focus of HUB2.io, and how does it differentiate itself in the payment aggregator space?
HUB2.io is a payment aggregator in Sub-Saharan Africa deployed in 7 countries: Ivory Coast, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Togo, Mali, Guinea, Gabon, with the aim of having footprint in 15 countries by 2022.We often play a role to enable mobile money interoperability between mobile money wallets within the same country (for instance, we enable our customer to access a virtual account, merging the balance of all their mobile money accounts, and to use this balance to transfer funds between mobile money wallets or to the main bank accounts within a country).
With regard to payment integrations, we are connected to the major mobile money operators in the countries listed above, with a total of 28 integrations to local/national players including Orange Money, MTN, Moov Moov, Mobicash, Wizall, Yup, etc. through direct or indirect connections (i.e. via other aggregators).Our main customers come from the Insurance, Micro-Finance, and Banking sectors. We accompany them in their digitisation journey by including mobile money in their current payment solutions offering.
We have a complete and dedicated technical stack to address the challenges that players in the insurance and banking sectors are facing today.
We are now investing heavily in robotic process automation in order to solve our customers’ challenges namely, to automatise their payment flow, reporting, and reconciliation processes. It would allow them to gain productivity and to cut costs. It will also give the opportunity to, for instance, insurance companies to enter the field of micro-insurance (micro-insurance refers to the protection of low-income individuals against specific risks, tailored to their needs in exchange for the payment of an insurance premium). Insurance products specifically tailored for low-income households could be offered. Payment of potential claims could be facilitated through mobile money platforms, in real-time.Besides, we are in the process of becoming L2 PCI-DSS compliant, which will allow us to develop more custom-made services linked to card payments.
2. How do you see the mobile money market evolving in Africa?
It is not an understatement to say that mobile money is and remains the main driver of financial inclusion, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. The African market for Mobile Money just keeps growing at a fast pace! Last year, the Sub-Saharan African market outpaced the global market both in terms of growth of registered accounts (12% against 10%) and of transaction value (28% against 26%).
With 469 million registered accounts and a total of $456 billion in transaction value, this market represents nearly half of the global market today. It is hard to predict the direction this market will take with the impacts of COVID-19 but all stakeholders in the sector expect it to continue in its growth trajectory. The reasons why? Increasing interoperability and rapid digitisation of payments throughout all sectors in the continent!
3. What have been the challenges to manage your company during lockdown?
The main challenge during lockdown was surely the alignment between the teams in France and in Ivory Coast as everyone had different personal constraints at home, making remote collaborative work a bit more complex.
Another challenge was to keep motivation at a good level, which is not an easy task during a pandemic, trust me! We also had to completely rethink our sales process to adapt our commercial efforts in this new situation and boost the productivity of the sales team.
4. What are your personal interests?
My spare time is limited, so currently I prefer to spend time with my wife and our new-born. I also enjoy cycling to the office; it allows me to train while commuting.
I also spend on average one hour per day before sleeping reading books mainly on personal development and biography - these are my favourites. We also banned TV and tablets at home four years ago.
5. Any personal goals?
My personal goals include scuba diving in Papua New Guinea, relocating to Cape Town, and opening a CrossFit Affiliation after working in the payments industry.
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