Simon Ononobi, CEO of SimplePay
During the Seedstars World 2016 event, AfrikaTech interviewed Simon Ononobi, CEO of SimplePay.
What was your background and your sources of inspiration?
At university, I studied biotechnology but I have always been drawn to computers. I learned to code and make the most of the capabilities of computers on my own.
I created “SimplePay” to support myself, I wanted to be able to make payments and transfer funds via the internet without having to go through foreign companies with which I could never have had direct contact.
This is a problem because I prefer to deal with a local company with which I could have speak directly
What is your mission as a start-up?
In 2013, when I launched “SimplePay” everything started from a problem: I could not make payments online I had to go through “PayPal” or another foreign company so I told myself that it was necessary that I solve this problem by myself. I had another almost similar site but I preferred to focus on this problem of online payments because I thought of all the other people who have had the same problem as me (traders, entrepreneurs, etc.)
What did you expect from “Seedstar”?
I participated in the 2013 edition to gain greater visibility and see if it was possible to obtain financial aid, finally we won 300,000 Swiss Francs to invest in “SimplePay” and this allowed us to ” get more funds to invest in our projects.
Have you always wanted to become an entrepreneur?
I’ve always been an entrepreneur! At school, when I was still studying chemistry and biotechnology I was also working on IT projects: I was showing my classmates how to use “Google”, how to open a mailbox “Yahoo! “… I was already making money while I was still a student by teaching others how to build a computer, I have always been attracted to entrepreneurship.
When I finished my studies, I opened a cyber cafe, there was an office where I received my customers, which led me to do business and manage it.
I only worked once for someone else for a year and it was very, very annoying! I like to have a certain autonomy in my working method and to have my own working method since always.
What advice would you give to a young entrepreneur or a young company / start-up?
My only advice is: »get started! Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and focus on a possible failure.
I was wrong several times you can trust me, everything knows that I launched between 20 and 30 start-ups but there are only 2 or 3 that have been successful. People are not interested in fiascos, they are interested in success, and if I had not made so many mistakes I could never have succeeded.
Indeed, it was my mistakes that taught me the most, they made me change my working method and if I had to start something new tomorrow I would be much more efficient because I acquired tools and knowledge -do it thanks to them.
You have to make your dreams come true and for that you have to be determined and work hard, that’s what I say to all the entrepreneurs I meet: “Just do it!” “