Nigerian fintech startup, Flex Finance, is building a mobile ecosystem for Small and Medium Enterprises, and solo entrepreneurs, to manage and track their expenses and finances.
Flex allows businesses to digitise their daily operations via a simple, accessible mobile platform. It is equipped with an intuitive user interface. Operating the app requires little-to-no financial knowledge. Flex combines the best in financial software to help businesses take control of their spending.
Flex Finance, founded in September 2019, aims to help Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) become smarter and more profitable. Flex emerged from the Company Builder initiative launched by Accion Venture Lab, which seeks to build inclusive finance technology startups from scratch to reach the millions of financially underserved Nigerians. Flex received US$100,000 in funding and technical support from Accion Venture Lab.
The CEO of Flex, Mr.Yemi Olulana says: “During the programme we talked to over 50 business owners, and from there we discovered that businesses had problems keeping track of their expenses and they admitted it was greatly affecting their business negatively. Their process was largely manual and paper-based, resulting in inefficiency and wastage. And with that Flex was born.”
The sector the startup addresses is large. SMEs account for over 65 per cent of economic activity in Nigeria, but often require assistance, with more than half of such businesses failing within three years.
Adds Mr. Olulana: “Our findings revealed poor financial management as the root cause, leading to their exclusion from essential financial services like loans and insurance, and ultimately their sudden death.”
Flex, after taking in a further US$200,000 in funding in the first half of this year, now has over 1,500 MSMEs as users in Nigeria. It plans to expand.
“Our consideration lies within the top 10 African economies, but it is still early-stage so nothing is set in stone,” says Mr. Olulana.
Flex charges customers a monthly subscription to use its platform, and plans to grow its product offering in the next few months.
Says Olulana: “Our mobile app was released during Covid-19, with a lot of SMEs experiencing the strain of the lockdown and enforced social distancing. However, we were able to onboard over 1,000 businesses in our first month.”
The application is available on the Google Playstore. Once installed, the application requests information about the user’s business and budget, followed by a welcome email to the user’s email.
Additional information about using the app is available on YouTube.