Simplifying financial tools for businesses in emerging markets

GladeFinance is a Fintech startup that aims to streamline payments for companies. It was selected for the Fintech Foundation incubator programme, which supports Fintech startups in taking their businesses to the next level, and has recently launched!

We spoke to Liyi Victor, GladeFinance's CEO, about his life, what inspired him to found a Fintech, and what keeps him centred.

Liyi Victor, the entrepreneur

"I happen to come from a family of entrepreneurs – my mom is an entrepreneur, my dad is a businessman."

Liyi has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering and a Master of Science in Information Technology Management with over a decade of experience in banking, payments, financial services, product, and business.

He recalls taking an interest in business at a very young age, when he was asked by a family friend to create an accounting database for their inventory, salaries, and expenses. Afterwards, he was able to do this for 24 businesses.

In 2012, Liyi founded an online school management business, Navisite Business Services, which he exited in 2016.

He was also the co-founder and CEO of Payit Nig Limited, a digital platform that "enables the under-banked consumers to access affordable banking services.

What is GladeFinance?

"What we want to do is simplify financial tools for businesses in emerging markets."

Liyi says that in Nigeria, over 85% of businesses are still processing money manually. The traditional banking system in Africa is ill equipped to support local businesses.

With GladeFinance, he wants to create a single platform where entrepreneurs can start their businesses, manage accounts and payments, as well as streamline the entire workflow.

Glade also aims to to be a gateway for businesses in the emerging markets to interact with Europe, US, UK, Asia etc, helping to boost both economies.

The startup's revenue model will focus on transaction fees, business incorporation, support, interest rates, subscription fee though the latter two will be introduced at a later stage.

Challenges faced as a founder

One of the biggest challenges that Liyi faces is a lack of talent in the Fintech space. It's an ongoing issue that he still faces as the company grows.

He says that having the right talent to be able to understand and support the business – especially in the Fintech space – is difficult.

The day in the life of Liyi

He operates on a very structured day and sticks to a routine. Liyi wakes up at 5:30am every morning and then prays and does light exercise.

Afterwards, he says that he looks in the fridge.

"I go down to the kitchen, open the fridge, and check around. Not to eat anything, because I'm not hungry."

He then grabs his phone to go through his messages and emails, and takes his children to school.

He then returns to his computer to really begin his work day, which includes attending meetings, checking in with his team, speaking with partners and investors.

A book for founders

Liyi recommends that founders read Sell More Faster: The Ultimate Sales Playbook for Startups by Amos Schwartzfarb, the Managing Director of Techstars Austin.

"I've read that book four times. Because I believe that if you're not selling, you're not making money, so I love that book."

Keeping on top of info and news

Liyi explains that he tries to get rid of the 'noise' of information and focus just on what he needs to know.

According to him, having a clear idea of what you're trying to achieve and what information is relevant to that goal is key to maintaining focus in today's world.

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