Motito wins this year’s KPMG Private Enterprise Global Tech Innovator Competition, Ghana Edition. [phew, what a mouthful!] Sitting down with Tobi Martins, CEO of Motito, we discussed his experience and aspirations throughout the competition.
What made you decide to participate in the KPMG competition?
A highly respected friend of mine brought it to my attention and suggested that I consider taking part in it. Once I read up on it, I immediately became interested. For me, it wasn’t merely about winning. As I am currently fundraising for Motito, I saw an opportunity to leverage the platform it offers -like being able to attend the Web Summit- to aid and streamline the process. It is a good opportunity to establish valuable connections.
Great! Can you describe the preparations that went into the competition?
Yes, there were three phases in the competition. For each of these phases, we had to make various pitches, especially around our strategies for expansion beyond the local front. The whole point of the competition is that we can build global businesses. And, if there is one thing Motito really wants, it is to go global. Currently, we may be small, but we are doing big things and I believe the competition organizers saw that.
What aspect of Motito’s innovative approach do you believe set you apart from other participants?
I think it is the traction that we have built.
What do you mean?
Traction, as in market validation. Innovations are great, however, most of them die young. This competition seeks to know those who have a chance and one way of showing it is by having social proofs; Who else believes in your startup apart from you? How many customers have you amassed? How many transactions have you made? And who wants to partner with you?
What gave Motito an edge in the competition is that we have gained significant traction from the transactions we have made so far. We have raised some amount of money and we have shown integrity in our business dealings. We have also been able to garner endorsements from companies like ECOBANK and investments worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Could you share with us a standout moment during the competition that you believe contributed to your victory?
Yes, I can. I remember having an interesting discussion with the panelists about our growth, the endorsements that we have acquired and how we are going to go from point A to point B. They asked what my approach would be to get to a hundred thousand or one million customers. I then gave them a few insights into my expansion strategy, and they loved it. One of them actually told me that they think we are on to something.
Yee yee! 🎉🎊😄
That is one of the moments that I am personally proud of because that feedback gave me a level of validation.
Were there any challenges or obstacles the team faced during the competition and how did you tackle them?
Obstacles? Hm... we didn’t really face any obstacles. The only thing I would say caused a bit of an inconvenience to me is that I didn’t get some emails on time.
What do you mean by you didn’t get some emails on time?
There were a number of requests that were made and communicated to me literally only a few hours before I would make my pitch. I then had to quickly incorporate them into what I had already prepared. Apart from that, the competition was pretty smooth, I even had fun the whole time.
And that is because this isn’t my first rodeo.
Cool. So, in what ways does this victory impact Motito’s long-term vision of reshaping financial inclusion in Africa?
Well, this victory comes into play in boosting our social proof. We are at the stage where we are still building trust in the fintech ecosystem. We want to be known as a reliable partner and KPMG having a good name gives us that additional social proof.
Another thing is, we are still very early on in our journey, and we cannot grow without money. Our business is a very expensive business to run and competitions like this validates us to others, making them know that we are on to something profitable. Raising money and building social proof feed into our short-term goals which in turn bridges the gap to our long-term vision, brick-by-brick.
What does this win mean for Motito’s future?
I am hopeful of the connections that could be made from this. Who knows? We could even get an investor or two who would be willing to stick with us in the long run. Frankly, trying to raise money in Africa is quite challenging so if you are really serious about your business, you will have to go where the money is. In this sense, this win helps us go where the money is.
Last question. What is next for Motito from here?
We have big plans for Motito and one of which is hitting 100,000 users by the end of the year.
Whether we will be able to achieve that, we are yet to see. We are also raising 2.5 million dollars. It is not a lot of money to the right person, but this will help accelerate our growth in the meantime and give us the market validation we need to build a successful brand. It will also help us acquire the right talents. I believe in people. If you get great people, you will make a great business. And looking at the future, we are actually running towards that – getting the right talents, hitting some big numbers and expanding out of Ghana.
We will also introduce some cool new products, some of which we have started working on. Yeah[nods]... exciting things are happening in the next few months.