In this interview, Chidiebere Onwuzurike, the founder of DEXTER, A fintech firm and research based firm talks about the fintech ecosystem, Crowdbux and how they will introduce robust credit scoring solutions for Nigerians. ANTHONY NWOSU Captured this in an exclusive interview.
DEXTER has been into Fintech space, tell us more about your solution?
Yes, we are a research-based software startup company founded in May 2021, we are leveraging the boundless powers of data and insights from curated user research to develop and innovate more powerful, and inclusive software for the fintech sector.
Your brand has Crowdbux as a solution do you think that it will make the needed impact in the industry?
Yes, I’m confident that it will. We only innovate software premised on credible insights and Crowdbux is one such innovation as a result of diligently curated consumer research. We have received early validation for the Crowdbux solution from potential investors, current and prospective partners as well as intended users. For context, during our waitlist marketing campaign in October, we successfully waitlisted over 2000 individuals in 3 weeks – a few of whom we identified to be decision makers of potential partner organizations.
When do you intend to launch?
We project to go-live with the Crowdbux solution in test mode by February 2023.
You also said that you are a R&D firm in the fintech space. How has this been?
Yes, research and development are the bedrock of our operations at Dexter, however I must point out that it has been most profitable for us in the sense that, we do not compromise on research as we rely heavily on quality feedback for iterations. It has also been some shades of challenging, largely due to limited resources to recruit volunteers and paid analysts to curate research online and offline, sort through volumes of responses and analyze the data for product development.
What are the challenges you face as a startup?
The same as every other startup creating amazing innovation, access to financing – whether credit or investment facilities – can be challenging when you are new in software industry because you have to prove your worth even to your team – that your solution(s) eases the pain-points of a large group of people and that you are uniquely positioned to generate huge revenues from that as a result.
Are you open to investors or are you okay bootstrapping?
Oh yes, though we have bootstrapped up to $15,000 in the past 1 year, we are very open toinvestment and have been in talks with a few notable potential investors recently.
When are you launching your mobile app?
This for us is a research-informed decision, we want our customers to tell us if and when they want it, however the crowdbux web application will be accessible using any web enabled device from February 2023.
Tell us about the people behind this innovative brand called Dexter?
The Dexter Force as we fondly call ourselves is a 6-member team of determined, cross-functional, diversely skilled and uniquely qualified professionals, led by my noble self, who are collectively positioned to ensure the overall success of the company. We are driven towards the same objectives and trained in several disciplines that make working and creating together, brainstorming new ideas and sharing solutions worth all our whiles. We are committed to throwing our best weights in all the ways necessary behind all our products now and in the future to simplify access to financial services for all.
What is your take of the Nigerian Fintech space?
Oh, what a time to be offering a revolutionary fintech solution in the Nigerian fintech sector. It’s clearly an ever-burgeoning space attracting over $507m in 2022 alone, and I think this trend is going to continue for the foreseeable future as innovation and globalization continue to evolve business transactions in Nigeria.
What do you think about credit ratings and how can you make Nigerians key into this?
Credit scoring is essential in helping us to determine who is creditworthy on the crowdbux solution, we have innovated a fantastic proprietary scoring model that takes important data points into account, constantly learning data and patterns in order to provide accurate scores for users. We are also partnered with Nigeria’s biggest credit bureau to further substantiate our model in order to provide a more robust credit reportage for users, and also provide our lenders with quality information to inform their lending decisions. In same vein, we are leveraging the expertise of our partners to provide 1 free comprehensive credit report to our users annually. Furthermore, as the CBN’s cashless policy continues to soar, the fintech’s in the credit market would begin to experience a growing demand for credit scoring as it’ll become a pre-requisite risk assessment accessory to accessing credit finance in the future.
What advise do you have for startups?
A quote that I picked up during a mentor session on Lagos Innovate’s IdeaHub program, it says “As an entrepreneur you’ll always have problems. That’s what you signed up for. So, my advice would be, consumer research is gold – never compromise it, stay the course of your vision, network as much as possible – seek mentorship, be visible and courteous, protect your IP, delay tough decisions until you have the solutions, feed well, rest well and remain coachable.
What do you think that the regulator (CBN) can do to improve the fintech space?
I must commend the CBN for systematically implementing its cashless policy which has enabled innovation to unlock several layers of alternative transaction channels, in conformation with global social development benchmarks. The CBN can also be commended for creating safe test environments – sandboxes – for financial companies, but must in same vein create safe spaces for information sharing amongst financial institutions (FIs), other financial institutions (OFIs), and other financial regulators (OFRs). More specifically however, I implore the CBN to begin implementing pertinent components of the credit insurance policy which will widen the financial safety net to substantially provide additional incentives for credit finance institutions (CFIs) to encourage long-term lending and cover against non-performing credits. Furthermore, since the CFIs rely heavily on FIs and vice-versa, the CBN can foster the partnership and conversations between these stakeholders to improve the global standing instruction (GSI) guidelines to include a memorandum on the execution of liens between FIs and CFIs on defaulting accounts to improve credit repayment culture and security of credit in Nigeria. Lastly, the CBN can consider creating monitored credit operator groups to categorize licensed CFIs into specialized groups, with each group guided by set standards, differentiated policies and internal operational frameworks based on operating license category, partnerships and public sector affiliation, as well as modes of operation, this will stimulate cooperation amongst relevant stakeholders and bring about standardization of the credit market operation guidelines.
Credit scoring is essential in helping us to determine who is creditworthy on the crowdbux solution, we have innovated a fantastic proprietary scoring model that takes important data points into account, constantly learning data and patterns in order to provide accurate scores for users