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[INTERVIEW] Olivier Asseu, SabiCash, Ivory Coast


Hi Olivier,

We’re really happy to have you on TechInAfrica, to tell us more about your startup SabiCash and your perspective on the new economy in Ivory Coast.

First of all, can you pitch us your company in just a few sentences?
Olivier: My company propose a IT solution (an app – that I have patented since 2013, to resolve petty cash problems during transactions. SABICASH is an app that offer to the seller a possibility to transfer the remaining petty cash during a transaction that is missing on its cash machine to render physically to the client. Therefore, SABICASH application turn into electronic money the missing petty cash money that the seller could not render to the client.

Can you tell us more about yourself, your personal background, your experience and how you went to SabiCash?
Olivier: I’m Olivier ASSEU, i’m have around 9 years in Corporate Finance (Private Equity, Investment banking) , and I have studied in France (EM-lyon business School). I’m now working for KPMG as Corporate Finance Manager, and through my project, I’m trying to move to employer status to full entrepreneur status by launching the commercial phase of SABICASH.

Can you tell us more about Ivory Coast? Why this market?
Olivier: Ivory coast is my country…Which hold 40% of the GDP of the all west African country (A part Nigeria and Ghana).This means that Ivory coast is the most rich country within its economic zone (WEAMU). The political situation of the country is now stable. The petty cash market in Ivory coast is a common market in all Africa country as these countries are low rate banking, implying using of lot of cash during transaction with consequent problem of petty cash missing.

What are the main issues you have been facing with SabiCash in Ivory Coast?
Olivier: The main issue I’m facing is financing problem to definitively launch the project.
We are now in pre commercial phase…and we will start commercial activities depending on commercial partners and fund and competition in 3 months delay.
Now, i’m facing a critical problem as Orange as copied my project and is starting a pilot phase…About orange, I have competed for a start -up trial organised by orange called (Prix Orange de l’entrepeneur social 2013).Some Months laters, Orange sent me an email to ask about the current development stage of my project…with no following after my answer…and Now I’m suprised that Orange is starting a pilot phase of a project similar to SABICAH. I have introduced discussion with the director of the project to better understand this problem.I would want to noticed that I’have patent my project and technology and also pay for copyright.

Who are your main competitors around?
Olivier: The mobile Money companies (Orange, MTN, Moov) etc.

What is your point of view, as a startup founder, about Ivory Coast?
Olivier: Launch a start up is very hard in Africa, due to many problems.
First of all african people don’t trust to new and innovative project…They prefer idea that comes from European or Northern countries as the idea has been tested by these developed countries…We face also great funding issues as there is no financing ecosystem for funding startup.Local bank and private equity are structure and organised to fund existing and old economy companies..Personnaly, I’m funding the launching of my start-up (the R&D phase) based on my salary.

Is it hard to find investors there?
Olivier: It is quasi impossible to find start-up funders.

What do you think is lacking to Ivory Coast to develop it more? What are the main barriers?
Olivier: We need seed capital venture capital that could fund project only based on a business plan or existing technical solution (pre-commercial phase) as SABICASH.

What is your perspective for the next years on Ivory Coast and more regionally on Africa?
Olivier: Launch SABICASH in Ivory coast in 2016 and duplicate for model and all he WEAMU zone.

Thanks for your time, and we’ll keep our readers up to date with your startup updates!

More about SabiCash?


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