Serge Boupda returned from Europe to start a fintech company called Diool in Camerooon due to the frustrating experience of not being able to purchase an item with anything other than cash.
When he came to visit his family in his hometown Douala at Cameroon, he found out that merchants preferred to be paid with old style-cash. Then he got tired of moving out with odd amount to buy anything because in Europe where he was living, there are so many means of payment like credit cards and cheques that one can use to buy anything but in Cameroon things were quite different, only cash payments were accepted. When you don’t have enough cash and you want to buy something, you cannot use your credit card or anything similar, you have to go to a bank to withdraw some money which is very frustrating.
Serge boudpa decided to moved to his hometown in Cameroon and founded “Diool” a fintech startup in an attempt to change behaviours. Diool is a digital platform whose aim is to allow merchants to pay their suppliers or to be paid by their customers.
The most exciting part of this venture is not the marketing of a new product, but the challenge of sparking behavioural change simply by ensuring that merchants know there is an opportunity to shift out of their old habits.
The start-up founder and CEO said his set mission would have been far more difficult if the solution had simply been imposed using a design from elsewhere but he was able to think and design solutions from the point of view of the local user because the merchant shows him where there is a trouble, and how you will put an end to that trouble which he finally did.
Although the core product app took several years to design, years that included several missteps before the final version of the app was ready but the advice given to entrepteneurs by Boudpa and his team at Diool is that “Don’t rush into things”.
Boupda said he doesn’t regret taking the risk of dropping a dependable job, regular income and comfortable life in Europe to return home and start a business from nearly scratch. He believes that if Africans don’t take the risks required to build their economies, no one else will.
The company recently attracted a multimillion-dollar investment and the start-up received 2.5 million euros from a new investor, becoming one of the most funded fintech companies in Francophone Africa, an indication that Boupda’s efforts have met with initial success in Cameroon and West Africa.