September 25, 2020

It started out as a normal visit to his favourite eatery for lunch.  But little did Eniola know that the next series of events on that day would lead to the birth of a business.  One that’s now serving a growing customer base.

After the realisation that he had left his debit card at his desk, the question hovered in his mind ‘why do I need my card for anything in 2016?’.  From then on,  the idea behind this business started coming together.  Having worked on two previous bots;  Stocksbots,  a Nigeria Stock Exchange bot and Showtime for cinemas and movie schedules,  Biya came into being. is the answer to the question and anxiety we feel about forgetting our debit cards at home while shopping or on a date.  Biya lets its users buy airtime,  pay utility bills and securely transfer funds using Instant Messaging like Telegram and Facebook Messenger.  Since many of us these days are digital nomads and attached to our work tools,  Biya also allows payments via office communication tools like Skype and Slack.

With the growing number of Nigerians using Facebook Messenger and other instant messaging and collaboration tools, coupled with the affordability of mobile devices and mobile data,  Biya may have found a sweet spot for itself.  Founded by Eniola Fadare, whose career background is in Cloud Infrastructure and Networking;  Olumide Ojo,  a software engineer;  Sulaiman Bello,  a market and consumer analyst and Ibukun Oloyede,  a financial analyst with investment banking experience.  This tightly-knit team from Obafemi Awolowo University has their work cut out for them.

Biya set out solving the primary utility need –airtime.  With consistent usage of this first service offering by the team and their family and friends,  they were able to validate the need for the service with backing insights.

To Eniola, the unique selling propositions are the fact that subscription payments can be scheduled. You can as well generate spending reports at intervals on services like airtime with the Yoruba and pidgin-speaking bots guiding users through their purchases.  For many of us,  keeping a tab on our spending is an elusive activity. To one of the founders ‘our ethnic background in addition to the launch location (Lagos),  are the major reasons for the language bots’

Biya,  despite being bootstrapped off the ground with the startup capital raised between the founders,  has returned double its initial takeoff capital. This represents over 6 millon transactions and counting.

In spite of the growth by the four-man team,  they still have expansionary ambitions to add more services and expand their marketing,  hiring and branding efforts.

You can start your Biya experience here

Chinedu Okoro
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