Jakob Rost, CEO and founder, Ayoconnect said his organization has a holistic landscape where it works with billers and regulates customer behaviour simultaneously. In an interactive session conducted by Entrepreneur India, Jakob Rost, CEO and founder, Ayoconnect shares his experience in the fintech industry, work mechanism of his company and future funding plans for it.
Inside Story of Ayoconnect and its Brand Value
Indonesia-based Ayoconnect focuses on bill payment while addressing the regular payment needs of customers. It’s a platform for subscription payments whether they are pre-paid or post-paid which consumers need to carry out on a regular basis. The organisation deals with billing institutions, big e-wallets, banks and offline retail stores to make payments easier as well as better.
Rost remarked, “We are a network similar to visa for the bill payments connecting both the sides and building technology around it.”
Market Competition and Insights During Pandemic
Considering the loopholes in the current billing payment system where either of the parties is not happy, Ayoconnect sensed a competition.
Rost believes that his vision is to create technologically advanced and friction less experience for the users. The organization has a holistic landscape where it works with billers and regulates customer behaviour simultaneously. Offline and online platforms are both handled by Ayoconnect team to manage customer behaviours.
According to Jakob, there has been a shift towards the online platforms in terms of digital transactions. “In many areas, technology will get accelerated and leapfrogged in a couple of years,” Rost said.
Bill payment will be among these trends and there have been reports stating upsides of the same. Adapting to various requisites to digitize bill payment was pondered over by the team. In such a scenario, this company facilitates resources to help its partners to accelerate their business growth. Reduction of cost and simplifying the process have also been focused are of Ayoconnect.
Gradual Transition in the Bill Payment System
Over the past eight years, Jakob has witnessed the transition in consumer behaviour from e-wallet to digitization of payment system. It’s the transparency on provider and utility side to be shifted towards innovative channels. Rost thinks Indonesia is a very young country where 50 per cent of the population is below 30 years.
Rost said, “The young generation is more open to try new things like bill payment and ecommerce segment.” From phone recharge to bill payments, the young generation is the first one to try it out and share with their parents. This becomes a legacy when this technology is passed on in a phenomenal way. Trust is the chief factor but, eventually, it turns out to be rewarding after a due course of time.
Entrepreneurial Journey and Initial E-commerce Viewpoint
A former business and management alumnus, Jakob hails from Berlin and started his career with investment banking. He switched to management consulting after a short period and worked for Boston Consulting Group (BCG) across Europe.
Financial and banking projects were primarily handled by him and it was the time when golden opportunity came his way from Lazada. As Rost pointed, “This was the opportunity of lifetime, I didn’t hesitate and jumped on the opportunity and became managing director for Lazada in Indonesia in 2013.” It wasn’t the phase of digital wave then and those were the early days over there. Jakob was proactively involved in the process to create the platform for third-party merchants for their transactions while working with Lazada.
Over 300 people started reporting to him wherein, commercial vendor acquisition, key account management operations and many others were included. The company was sold to Alibaba which still remains to be the biggest acquisition initiated from outside China. This kick-started the entrepreneurial journey of Rost to come up with startup plan with his local co-founder as many factors like fintech, digital payments and others started cropping up. After the consistent performance of Ayoconnect for the past 5 years, Jakob seems to be very positive about the future prospects of the organization.
Future Funding Plan and Strategic Changes
Bill payment is going to be the foremost category to be focused upon by Ayoconnect considering high potential of growth in this segment. Most of all, mobile recharge and electricity bill payment are the principal things which people look for when bill payment comes into the picture. However, there are over 20 bill payment categories chalked out by the organization. Be it insurance, lending, tax payment and even bill payment for schools in Indonesia, the collaboration with institutions will simplify the process.
Banks and building institutions of Indonesia work closely with Ayoconnect through which value-added solutions have been introduced.
Rost shared that technology is transferable and inquiries from outside Indonesia are also being received. This is an essential potential for business expansion for the organization in the future.
Business Expansion Plans Outside Indonesia
The technology which is being used by Ayoconnect has been evaluated for its effective mechanism for the other markets across the world. Hence, Southeast Asia, Africa and Middle East are some of the emerging markets where the scope of revamping core banking will be worked over.
“We are still evaluating and I think if we do it, we want to do it right,” said Rost. The current funding has been raised for Indonesia.
Message to Aspiring Startup Founders
Being agile and revaluating performance prove to beneficial for the founding team to grow phenomenally.
“It’s not always going in one direction for a startup, revaluation of work that has been despite stable company,” said Jakob.
Prioritising important things for business and convincing investors about your plan and objective will fetch funding for the startup.
This article was originally published on Entrepreneur by Jyoti Valecha on October 6, 2020.