Elsa Muzzolini, General Manager, Commercials & Mobile Financial Services, Y’ello Digital Financial Services, has listed three things fintech need to do in finding and leveraging the right Partnerships.
Muzzolini who was a panellist at the first episode of Tech Cabal’s The Fintech Series on the topic, “How to find and leverage partnerships to grow startups,” listed the three things fintech need in its early stages as time, clarity, and a contact person when looking to enter a partnership with a big corporation.
She explained that startups are not usually in the position to determine the operations and pace of bigger corporations. It was therefore crucial that they propose and agree on a timeline in their favour to ensure that their partnership negotiations are prioritized.
On clarity, she advised startups to be straightforward and clear on the scope and terms of the partnership.
She also stressed the need for startups to have a reliable contact person within the organization they seek to partner with, instead of relying on emails.
Earlier, Mayowa Kuyoro, Partner and Head of West Africa Financial Services, McKinsey & Company, set the context and tone of the panel discussion, speaking on the five emerging partnership models – classic vendor relationship, distribution, strategic investment, joint venture, and acquisition.
In line with Muzzolini’s advice, Majekodunmi emphasized the importance of seeking out the right persons in organisations where founders seek partnerships.
She also went on to speak on her biggest lessons as a fintech co-founder, especially in ensuring that smaller startups do not bind themselves to unfair contractual terms.
“There are three levels of partnerships: regulatory, infrastructure, and physical investments.
“Always have a trial period before signing on any (partnership) contract as this will help provide clarity on how the partnership will work and help level the playing field.”
Oviosu encouraged startups to not think in terms of what they can benefit from partnerships alone but what they can contribute to the company they seek to partner with.
He also named this as one of the ways to win companies over.
“Try to understand what the needs of the other company are and how you can help them meet those needs. Make sure there is value on the table for every party,” he said.
Other members of the panel were the Founder/CEO Paga, Tayo Oviosu, CEO, Chaka Stocks, Tosin Osibodu, Co-Founder/CEO, BanklyNg, Tomilola Majekodunmi, CEO, Sterling Bank, Abubakar Suleiman, and Operation Director, Africa, Ria Money Transfer, Robert Kotei. The panel discussion was moderated by Topsy Kola-Oyeneyin, Global Partner, McKinsey & Company.