A day at TeamApt, a fintech SME in Lekki – Lagos, Nigeria

TeamApt is the name of the company I visited on Friday, 2nd March 2018, during my mini-tech tour. I promised to write about it, so here, is me fulfilling that promise.

Founded in 2015, TeamApt is a finTech company focused on delivering financial happiness to its clients through the use of technology.

I arrived the office premises by 12:35pm and was greeted by the amazing Oge Okonkwo, their Marketing Lead. I was then led into the office building.

On entering the building, I observed the dress-down culture. No ties and suit in sight, save for the CEO and one other employee (trivia: he is a CU graduate) who wore a Blazer. This was expected for two reasons: one, it is a tech company and two, it is Friday.

The ‘big men’ of the company like Felix Ike, Chief Operations and Information Officer (COIO) along with Tunde Ogidan, the Head of Product Management were spotted wearing a blue and stripped traditional attire (aka Native) respectively

ALSO READ   IBM Identifies How Nigeria Will Benefit from Data Innovation

Generally, among the employees, the spirit of Wakanda was seen to be very much in force, with the way people were identifying with their cultural roots.

However, beyond that, it is not uncommon to walk into a Nigerian company on Friday and see people wearing Native attires on their dress-down day. I guess part of the reason for this is the need to show-off (your fashion taste), but more importantly, the corporate shirts should get a break, shouldn’t they?

Although, their office space was quite basic with several fragmented rooms (representing units) with shared tables and adjustable chairs (in some cases the tables had dividers), I believe they have done well for a 3-year old bootstrapped startup.

However, one of my recommendations is that when they reach the financial capability of multinationals like Google and Andela, they should create more innovative workspaces that will boost employees creativity and productivity.

These creative workspaces usually include Graffiti, Beanbags, resting pods and exciting room names. Below are some shots of Google Nigeria and Andela Nigeria’s office.

ALSO READ   Opportunities Weekly: Y Combinator funding cycle and more opportunities are closing soon, take prompt action
Yet, they are not doing badly in the whole “making-work-feel-like-home” concept (read: Work<>Life Balance) as they spot a kitchen (with a washing machine!) in their building.

Upon visiting their workspace, I met two of my senior colleagues in the Computer Science department at Covenant University, Ota. Back then, they were reputable for programming and now they are working as Software Engineers at TeamApt. Interestingly, they are both named Dami. So, it was sort of a mini-reunion, LOL. I learned Dami Ajiboye single-handedly re-wrote the early parts of an automated reporting system for one of their clients, a top bank in Nigeria.

After seeing those two people, a hypothesis was formed in my head that TeamApt hires really smart people. Turns out I was right. As we go along in this narrative you will see what I’m saying in-between the lines.

I continued my tour and finally settled in a conference room upstairs. This conference room was where I had more in-person chats with key employees at the company including the CEO, Tosin Eniolorunda. I also spoke with the HR — Chinaza, COIO — Felix, Head of PM — Tunde, PM — Adrian and the Head of Service Delivery & Support — Emeka.

Many of them had been at the company since inception which was after Interswitch. As for Adrian, TeamApt has been his only job since NYSC where he started as a Software Engineer. While Tunde joined in July 2017.

How has TeamApt attracted Talent, thus far? What’s the current recruiting process?

How has TeamApt retained her staff and reduced employee turnover?

What is TeamApt’s affiliation with Interswitch?

How does TeamApt do business?

Each of the questions above will be answered by separate responses from my interview respondents.

Moneytor, the company’s Digital Banking solution for Retail and Corporate Clients

How does TeamApt attract Talent?

Typically, this will be a question best answered by the HR department. But for a small company in its early years, the CEO is usually the head of HR. So, I spoke with Tosin and he laid out a 3-step practical process for recruiting talent. That has gotten them from 14 employees this year to 37 now and hopefully 62 by the end of the year. Here is Tosin’s advice;

“Work with your network and work through the network of your network. There is a saying that ‘Good people know good people…

– Hire the first 10 employees with a pitch plus some equity (if they will value that)
– Try to pay an at least average salary.
– For the Next 20, go through the network of first 10.
– Next form (i.e after the first 30), augment your search with LinkedIn. That way it is more targeted.

We look for intelligent, knowledgeable, passionate and gritty people all of which can be found in their history (like a LinkedIn Profile).

We are looking at history because we believe ‘Past performance is a good predictor of future performance’.

So, if the person went to school, you look at his/her grades, which is like a bandwidth. Where 1st class/2:1 can be grouped together to mean the person is diligent and has an excellence culture, for 2:2 depending on his/her extra-curricular activities. Sometimes, a 2:2 graduate who is a very good programmer might be hired over a 2:1 Computer Science grad.”


One of the workspaces in the company

This recruitment formula has been true for an employee like Felix who was one of the first 6 people to join the company. He said:

“I was looking for a startup that had a vision I could key along with, TeamApt gave me that…”

What is the recruiting process?

According to the HR, Chinaza Emenike, who has been with the company for over 2 years, the recruitment process goes thus:

Phone interview → physical interview; on-the-spot coding challenge → stage 3; meeting with the CEO.

They typically hire for the following roles:

Enterprise Architects, Project Managers, Product Managers, and Software Developers (could be split into Product Engr., Project Engr.)

How has TeamApt retained her staff and reduced employee turnover?

I forgot to ask specifically about the turnover rate but given the mini-survey I did, a lot of people have been with the company since inception (3 years ago). So, I’m curious to learn about why they have stayed this long?

Still, on Felix, he said: “For me, it (working at TeamApt) has been fulfilling, rewarding and stressful”.

When I asked Adrian Agho, a Product Manager why he joined the company, he said, “After NYSC, many of the people I looked up to were already in the company, for example, Emeka Ibe from Computer Warehouse Group, so it was more like a ‘Family’ business…

Adrian is a First Class Graduate of Computer Science from the University of Lagos, Nigeria

Emeka Ibe, who heads Service Delivery, got his Bachelors from University of Houston and his Master’s from University of Denver (with Project Management concentration).

Regarding why he has remained here (even after having such an in-demand skill, Programming and good Academic qualifications from a reputable University), he said [paraphrased]:

“I can’t imagine being somewhere else. Not many companies would allow the type of growth I have enjoyed…now I am more confident in speaking with Key Opinion Formers” (he moved from Software Engineer to managing Products), he continued “Also, it is kind of different when you see your work in use. He then went ahead to narrate to me his experience of a lady on a bus who works with one of their partner banks talking about an app the bank was using, which he had built.

His face lit up while narrating that experience.

How does TeamApt do business?

So, I asked how Felix, the COIO, TeamApt does business and here is my jotting, which I think new startups and businesses can learn from:

Customer-driven or TeamApt product driven (e.g Moneytor) → the Business team goes in to close the deal → debriefing meeting (with PM, Enterprise Architect, COIO) — to communicate customers expectations (Who it was sold to, what was sold the key stakeholder) → Product and Project Manager meet with customer to validate the requirements → Project Manager draws upa project plan which is shown to the customer, allocation resources, deliverables, and timelines and then they sign off → in-house project delivery → User Acceptance Testing (UAT) and close-out.

Bonus: Advice for Founders

While talking about the TeamApt story and how he bootstrapped from zero to millions of revenue, he had this piece of advice for founders:

You can grow to a world-class company by bootstrapping, your respite is not necessarily raise. Infact, if you do B2B (Business-to-Business) make sure you bootstrap.

Don’t collect money to start but to grow.


There is a lot more that I gathered about the company that space will not allow me to share like what they look out for in new hires, what the most challenging part of the job is, and plans for the future.

TeamApt is one out of many thriving SMEs in Nigeria delivering B2B (Business-to-Business) solutions to clients. Because they tend to hire self-motivated, smart people, they might be overlooking the need for a company-wide training schedule. Currently, they have external facilitators and in-house senior employees lead training sessions on Friday, but of course, there is always room for improvement. Like, driving employee mentoring programs and creating their own curriculums.

In summary, more of this kind of stories need to be told. If you run a profitable business in Nigeria and would like your story told, reach out: hello@benjamindada(dot)com

Best wishes for the future to them!

My day ended with a bunch of pictures with the folks, but here is one I like.

Source link

قالب وردپرس



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here