Fintechs offering lending solutions are helping individuals and businesses get increased access to credit. They have made it easy for underserved people to enter the financial space through their offerings.
Sycamore is one of the leading fintechs enabling individuals and businesses through their investment and loan offerings.
We briefly chatted with Sycamore's chief operating officer (COO), who discussed what they do, their projection for the just-concluded Fintech Summit, and what we should expect from them in the future.
Please, introduce yourself and tell us what you do at Sycamore.
My name is Mayowa Adeosun, the COO and Co-founder at Sycamore. I ensure that the operations and financial aspects of the business run smoothly. I put in place processes and procedures to ensure that we can hit our strategic goals and objectives. At the C-suite level, I'm more engaged in strategic conversations to move the needle forward as the business grows.
Tell us more about Sycamore and its offerings.
Sycamore is a financial solution. Essentially, we are a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending company that connects two different bodies. Whether it's an individual or a business, we pair them and facilitate a transaction. So, somebody can request a loan, and we can pair them with a potential lender that can fulfil that request, and this will happen seamlessly within a very short time.
We have yet to perfect it to be an equal one-to-one, but we're working towards developing the solution to the point where people can pick transactions individually. So that's the bread and butter of Sycamore.
We have introduced other financial solutions that could benefit our users. We have a product called Loan Friends. It is also P2P, but it's more on the retail level. So you might have a friend or family member interested in taking a short-term loan, and because of your relationship and your understanding, they can come to the platform.
They can request directly from you as the lender, and you can have very structured mini-contracts that help them organise that transaction and leave you without worrying about whether they will pay back or how they're going to pay back and all those fine details.
Secondly, we provide personal and business loans on our platform. Thirdly, users can buy airtime and perform other digital transactions. These are three fundamental services that Sycamore offers, and we continue to develop as much as possible to solve those problems.
What makes you excited about The Fintech Summit?
What excites me about The Fintech Summit is that it brings so many different players in the Fintech industry together under one roof and allows us to see what everybody is doing, where everybody is, and what kind of products and services are available. Even as a fintech player, sometimes it can be quite difficult to track everything that's going on in the industry.
So, The Fintech Summit helps us collate everything happening and touches on subjects like financial inclusion, another difficult subject and area that most fintechs, especially in the lending space, have been trying to contribute towards solving. I'm also excited to hear one of my professors, Olayinka David-West, from the Lagos Business School, speak.
What pain points do you think need to be addressed in Africa's Fintech sector?
Fintech is very broad in the sense that a lot of different financial transactions, services, and products are being categorised under Fintech. In the lending space, the new circular from CBN, increasing the cost of debt, will ultimately push many potential borrowers out of the market because they won't be able to afford the interest rates.
So, I think one of the pain points is finding innovative ways to reduce operating costs and run a very lean business so that you can pass as many savings to the customer, so they can continue to receive those loans and grow their businesses.
In the ecosystem under Fintech, I think one of the pain points would be that we want to have the ability not only to buy US stocks and stocks in foreign companies but explore as many options as possible to create a financial product that protects you in different times and markets. We've seen what happened recently to Meta, Twitter, etc. Is there an option for a Nigerian to make gains, even if the company stock prices go down? They call that short selling, and I'm not sure if there's any fintech that has successfully pinned that down.
So in the sense of financial services, a pain point that comes to mind is in the insurance sector. I think, as a culture, we still haven't adopted insurance, which could ultimately be an opportunity for an insurance tech company to change the culture or change how we think about insurance and introduce it in everyday life: from general insurance, buying your car insurance, to life insurance policies, and things that can help you mitigate the financial exposure.
I'm sure there are many things that people are currently doing, and there are pain points big enough for new players to come in and solve.
What impact do you expect following the conversations that will hold at The Fintech Summit?
I think the results would be that we'd all come out more informed and hopefully more inspired to take on the challenges we've identified during the course of the conversations.
There are going to be many experts and people who have general interests in Fintech in attendance. So I'm hoping that it introduces people yet to be exposed to Fintech and helps them grow their passion and interest and build a skill set necessary to solve problems.
I would love to collaborate with other players and see what they offer and have that round table discussion to see how we can put minds together to solve these problems and help Nigeria, Africa, and whoever can benefit from these solutions move forward.
Lastly, what should we be looking out for from you and Sycamore?
I would hope that people stay tuned to what we're doing on the Sycamore mobile app. The mobile app is where we introduce many of our features. Loan Friends is going to be one of the biggest features introduced into the market, which will hopefully allow us to play across Nigeria and the developing world in the near future.
Personally, I'll try to release a bit more content to share information and touch on subjects that might interest people within the Fintech space and those considering entrepreneurship or currently undergoing an entrepreneurial venture. People can find that on YouTube, most likely posted on Sycamore's page.