Mounir Nakhla, CEO and co-founder of Egypt’s MNT-Halan, has been a serial entrepreneur and founder of businesses delivering microfinancing to SMEs and individuals since 2009. In 2017, he co-founded ride-hailing company Halan with Ahmed Mohsen, where the duo drew inspiration from companies such as Indonesia’s GoJek.
The duo have pivoted towards financial services, co-founding MNT-Halan in 2018. It is now Egypt’s largest and fastest-growing super app, substituting cash with electronic solutions.
Mounir shares 4 ways African startups can become successful and they are explained below
See the opportunity.
Mounir encourages startup founders to continually innovate and seek for opportunities to grow their startups.
Also, identifying key business opportunities will help startups develop more tailored products and services, hone your target market and identify and overcome common objections.
MNT-Halan’s digital solutions, including lending, BNPL, e-commerce, payments, and on-demand logistics, support its mission to empower underserved communities, address inequality and female economic participation,” Mounir explains.
Listen to your consumers and give them what they want.
Mounir explains here that constant active listening through monitoring customer feedback and conversations will allow startups to improve their performance across the board.
According to him, when you’re targeting potential customers, listen to their needs, wants, challenges and frustrations with your industry. You can improve your customers’ lives.
“Understand consumers’ problems and work hard to solve them economically. We at MTN-Halan invest heavily to do so, and consequently, we are able to constantly launch new products and services to solve the pains they face. By doing so, we are constantly unlocking growth avenues.”
Use technology to drive operational seamless scalability.
According to Mounir, MNT-Halan prides itself on its technological capabilities. In addition to its apps and payments solutions, in early 2021, the company launched its distributed proprietary and developed ‘Neuron’ core banking software, the first and only proprietary core banking system software in the Middle East and Africa, driving huge scalability. MNT-Halan has now coupled Neuron with user and vendor apps, creating a digital ecosystem. Their BNPL service coupled with finance provides an end-to-end customer experience fuelling huge growth.
“We’ve served more than four million customers and provided $2bn in financial services to more than two million borrowers. The current monthly throughput via Neuron is over $140m, and BNPL services are seeing double-digit monthly growth. We’re bringing the benefits of our services to more and more people,” Mounir says.
Understand the bigger picture
A firm grasp of the macroeconomic context in which your startup operate in is key.
According to Mounir, we’re undergoing a digital revolution. Mobile phones are transforming how people live and behave. They expect instant gratification, and this is affecting consumer expectations in social activity.
“Consumers expect a good experience with companies.”