It can be difficult to establish or navigate addresses in Africa due to poor addressing infrastructure. And for some countries like Nigeria, customers need to accurately Provide their addresses to financial institutions such as banks and financial companies to create bank accounts and other accounts.
Customers use inefficient processes such as billing for services or sending physical agents to the address, whether it is long and expensive procedures. But the challenge of address verification has a broader impact on the social and economic environment.
According to a survey conducted by OkHi, a smart addressing startup on hundreds of Nigerians, 78% of them mentioned it was wanted To prove their address for a job. In addition to50% said they did not have a utility bill, and 57% revealed that they could not verify their address in certain situations.
OkHi is tackling these challenges in Nigeria with its technology and has raised $1.5 million to scale its efforts. The round brings the total incorporation increase to $3 million.
The company was founded by Tempo Drayson in 2014. Its products allow banks, financial firms and businesses to collect and verify customers’ addresses through their smartphones, replacing the need for utility bills and in-person interactions.. The company claims to be the only smart address verification service globally with this smartphone feature.
As a product manager at Google for seven years in London and the US, Drayson was part of the team that launched Google Maps across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.. He first faced the challenge of addressing, particularly with regard to the team’s work in Africa. But he did not decide to take the next step to solve it until after a leave of absence and traveled across the regions of the east and west of the continent..
“The problem I was facing firsthand, whether it was trying to get a delivery, then from Jumia, in its early days, or whether it was Just Trying to sign up for a SIM, everyone was asking for an address, and there’s no way for me to give an address. And I realized that this is a big problem, no Just for every Nigerian, but also for half the world,” the founder and CEO of TechCrunch told TechCrunch.
More than 4 billion people do not have an official physical address, and it costs the global economy more than $200 billion annually. The founder says OkHi’s biggest mission is to get those people who don’t have a physical address to them included in the global address system.
Nigeria is OkHi’s starting platform, and Building Financial Services is the starting point. As we noted earlier, banks and fintech companies need to verify customer addresses for right on board. usually The options are manual, which means having an agent confirming the address offline or ineffective digital methods such as using utility bills.
OkHi service integrates with and enables your mobile banking or fintech app digitally Collect and verify the exact addresses of their customers.
How this works is that consumers go to the OkHi website and generate addresses by pinning their map with a virtual representation of their street. OkHi collects this address but uses the location data from the consumer’s phone to actively Check how long the phone spends at the address the consumer has saved. After a while, OkHi creates a profile using an “AI-powered verification engine” to determine whether or not a consumer resides at that address.
Once consumers have created and verified their address, they can use it across OkHi’s partner financial institutions, sSome of them include Interswitch via its product Quickteller and Stanbic IBTC. According to OkHi’s press release, a pilot conducted with the latter showed that their address verification product is 30% more accurate, 4 times faster, and 50% cheaper than the industry standard of sending a physical agent to a customer’s door.
Drayson said the company is in talks with 15 other banks and financial firms, with plans to start working with them in the coming months. He also noted that OkHi will provide its address verification and collection services to industries such as last mile delivery, e-commerce, food delivery and emergency services in a bid to diversify its customers..
OkHi charges its customers on a per transaction basis. Every time the company successfully verifies the customer’s address, charges N500 (~$1). OkHi claims to have “hundreds of thousands” of users.
Drayson said his company is seeing strong demand from companies in other countries globally, such as Egypt, India, South America and Southeast Asia.. HoweverHowever, the company – which has established addresses in 54 countries so far – is avoiding requests for expansion officially In those markets to focus on Nigeria, targeting to reach 1 million users in the next six months.
Investment will be vital to making this happen as OkHi doubles down on its team – primarily away with staff in Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya and London – as it looks to hire Strongly Across engineering, sales, products and engineering to drive consumer and B2B growth.
Investors in the round include Chapel Hill Denham, founder and CEOs of Flutterwave and EXFI, a union of former Google employees..
They join existing investors such as Founders Factory Africa, Betatron and Interswitch Group. Bolaji Balogun, CEO of Chapel Hill Denham, will join the OkHi Board of Directors.
OkHi’s is one of the major players in the field of identity and address verification in Nigeria, including YouVerify and VerifyMe. Explaining how OkHi stands out, Drayson said his company focuses on addressing people, not places.
“I suspect directly The way to try to understand the difference is that we Focus on addressing people, not places. And what I mean by that is that a lot of dealing with business or technology Basically Provide a way for someone to find a building or a place, but they don’t know who’s inside,” he said.
“And the main distinguishing feature of what we do is that we substantially You give people these verified addresses. This is something no one else in the world does, and it’s a major differentiator and the reason we talk about the importance of addressing people, not places. “