" ITREALMS: ISPON wants Nigerian banks to invest in tech startups

Monday, August 03, 2015

ISPON wants Nigerian banks to invest in tech startups

The Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), has called on banks in Nigeria to throw their weight on technology startups, reports ITRealms.

ISPON President, Chief Pius Okigbo, made this call and commended Nigerian banks for their foresights in funding various tech startups in the 1990s and 2000s such as Interswitch, ValuCard (Unified Payments Limited), ATMC, NIBSS, Credit Registry and CRC Credit Bureau, all financed by various consortia of Nigerian banks.

According to him, as technology startups increasingly penetrate traditional banking segments, including payments, wealth management and billing, major global banking giants are not sitting on the sidelines. Six major American banks - Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo - have made strategic investments in 30 technology companies since 2009, according to CB Insights data.

ISPON suggested that a second wave of investments in tech startups would require the establishment of Special Purpose Vehicles [SPVs] following global precedents, as was the case with Citi Bank that incorporated Citigroup Venture Capital business  through which it invested in i-Flex Solutions Limited,  driving the "FLEXCUBE' suite of products to adoption by more than 100 financial institutions in over 40 countries. 

Okigbo also said the six major American banks have invested in 30 tech companies since 2009, according to CB Insights data. 

Out of the six banks, he said, Citigroup has been the most active primarily through its Citi Ventures, which has invested in tech startups ranging from Betterment, Jumio and Square. Goldman Sachs has already ventured into financial tech startup with thematic investments across payments technology and big data finance.

Therefore, ISPON urged the banks to study how Deutsche Bank is building a strong ecosystem for innovations and take a lesson from it. Deutsche Bank would open three innovation laboratories in Berlin, London and Silicon Valley, as part of a EUR1 billion spend on digital initiatives over the next five years.

The giant German bank, Okigbo pointed, would help the organisation to develop new products and services from three global tech hubs, strengthening its ability to innovate and deepening relationships with smart tech startups. 

“Nigerian banks should take advantage of the huge innovation awakening that is sweeping across Africa and particularly Nigeria to refocus their plans and place their bets on fintech startups. It is particularly sad that no bank is participating in DEMO Africa, a flagship launch pad for emerging technology and trend hosted in Lagos in 2014.  Many venture capitalists from around the world were present”, Okigbo said.


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