Championing Financial Inclusion For African SMBs
Half of African SMBs close shop within a year of being formed and the number one reason for this is financial constraints. We looked into what causes this and realised that 35% of their income is tied up in receivables whereby:
- Upto 60% is paid late
- 11% is not paid at all.
They use pen & paper to track these pending payments which has proved cumbersome:
- It’s hard to tell unpaid balances because customers make part payments using different channels including cash which is difficult to compute and reconcile using a book.
- Reconciliation is a nightmare lasting over 3 hours per day as one has to track all payments received and manually attribute them.
- Difficulty following up on the pending payments because of lack of clarity on balances as well as difficulty in having to make phone calls to every customer.
- Customer conflicts arising from disagreements on balances because of the lack of clarity and transparency on the payment history. This leads to losing the customer.
A typical SMB would thus not have enough cash at hand to operate smoothly leading to poor business performance and eventual closure.
The losses aren’t because customers don’t want to pay but because the collections process is broken. We’ve made it our mission to help SMBs solve this problem through a simplified end-to-end payment flows for receivables and payables.
Our Core Values
The tenets we bide by as we build Patika, expand our team and engage with partners.
Customer over Competitor
To our customers, we say “Sawabona” – We see you, we respect you, we value you, you are important to us. We believe that our customers/users and not our competitors have everything we need to know about our business and the future of the market. We obsess over them, talk to them, listen to them and act on the lessons learnt from them. But if they complain about a competitor or leave us them, we pay attention, find out why and work on improving our business.
Product over Process
We exist to solve our users’ problems and to do that, we need the simplest and most effective product they can use with ease. This means always iterating on the existing product until we get the solution right. We do not want to get into the traps of processes like building for specs rather than to fix a problem, doing the perfect product research rather than iterating based on actual usage feedback.
Think Like Bayes
“Ideas don’t come out fully formed.” Mark Zuckerberg. We know that to build something people want, we have to get started from somewhere and keep iterating based on customer and market feedback – a closed loop system, we call it. We know that what we’re doing now is not perfect and we can only move towards perfection by updating our knowledge with new information we learn from the market.
Time and Tide…
Wait for no Man. We consider speed as our Mjolnir – a startup’s best weapon. We grab opportunities and move quickly to take advantage of them. We don’t have “stealth” mode – we launch quickly and learn from the market. We don’t build in silence for a year till we have the perfect product, we launch in bits and let users tell us if it solves their problem or not. We do things that don’t scale until we are ripe for scale.