Customer Showcase— Kwaba.ng
In this edition, we interview Obinna Molokwu, Founder & CEO of Kwaba.ng — a rent payment platform that helps low- and middle-income earners pay their rent in convenient instalments. He speaks to us about digital identity and its role in the company, amid COVID19.
What led to the birth of Kwaba, and how has the journey been so far?
As a teenager, I witnessed extended family members always seeking for money to pay rent. Many years later, I witnessed the same thing with my friends. These individuals were in good financial standing but still would request for money to pay this bill. That got me thinking, why do people struggle to pay their rent?
I discovered that landlords requesting for bulk payment upfront was such a strain on people. I then decided to build a product to take that strain away.
Regarding the journey, it has been going well. Unfortunately, the pandemic has affected businesses globally and Kwaba is no exception. Still, the demand for our services has been increasing. All in all, it’s been exciting to learn as we’re growing.
Why did you choose VerifyMe as your identity verification partner?
We chose VerifyMe solely because of their extensiveness and coverage. VerifyMe has extensive coverage nationwide which is great for what we’re doing. Also, as a digital company, VerifyMe is ideal for us because we can pass data efficiently.
Which things have changed in your business because of our product/service?
With VerifyMe, we have been able to get seamless data aggregation for the identity of our customers.
What are the major challenges for Kwaba regarding identity in Nigeria and what role would you say digital identity plays in the innovation happening in your sector?
There is no comprehensive platform for identity management. We have the NIN, BVN and phone numbers, but it is frustrating that all these parameters are not linked. In Nigeria, there is a lack of infrastructure that collates all these data.
If these identity data were all properly linked, it would help create better products for Nigerians.
This data mismanagement has affected our sector because credit is a big deal. It works with trust and data points. How much data points do we have on an individual? It is not just about your credit history; it has to do with the question of who are you?
In Nigeria, we’ve seen many cases of identity theft, especially in the financial sector. And if we had a very good merging of data across various subsets, we would be able to leverage that through peer to peer sharing of information, which is one of the things we also lack in the industry.
Once there can be a perfect hub that can collate effectively and give us a clearer look at an individual’s identity through effective data aggregation, we can create amazing products around that.
As we all know, COVID-19 disrupted 2020. What changes did Kwaba see and how was the business able to adapt to these changes?
COVID-19 disrupted business, but it also served as an opportunity for businesses to grow. It forced us, in a very aggressive way, to make changes rapidly to business operations, how we think about people, how we think about our processes, and most especially how we think about interacting. The virus has harmed but it has done some good as well.
As a nation, we tapped into the opportunities it created. People are moving more remote now, identities are starting to merge, and we as a company are more conscious of how we get people’s data and ensuring that the data is safe, in these times when there’s lack of trust and uncertainties.
What would you like to see in the Nigerian identity space in 3 years?
In the next few years, I would want to see a one-stop-shop for identity and data management. A place you can just put in your phone number and easily pull out all your details. Your phone number or even your BVN should be able to give you access to finance and credit instantly.