Boring Careem and SimSim Mobile Wallet Launch

Boring Careem

I had a bad week traveling via Careem. My rides got canceled multiple times, captains behaved rudely and I was charged for canceling the ride while it was the captain who refused to come. And yet I don’t have anything negative to say about the company. They are on a ride. From #HerJourney to monthly packages to the launch of a ride insurance. Everything is pointing towards things going well and up. The product feels being evolved for the right reasons.

But perhaps most important thing they are doing is over communicating. Every time I book a ride, I get multiple app updates, SMS and emails. It’s tiring and boring to see the same message multiple times. But in a society where corporate trust is nonexisting, over positive communication helps build exactly that. And it works as a heal to the occasional, often unavoidable, bad experiences. Finding it very hard to locate Uber now a day.

SimSim Mobile Wallet Launch

The i2i insight is my recent favorite newsletter. It’s really well done every time. From their recent issue on Fintech in Pakistan:

Last week, Pakistan’s financial technology (fintech) space made a great stride forward with the launch of the SimSim digital wallet. This digital wallet is exciting news because (1) It received regulatory approval from the State Bank of Pakistan and (2) It was the result of a unique partnership between FINCA Microfinance Bank Limited and FINJA Pvt. Limited. Translation = It was the first time a bank and a fintech company partnered together in Pakistan to design a digital financial product.

If we looked at these numbers on their own, it might seem that the odds as well as our cultural realities are stacked against the success of digital financial solutions in the country. But i2i’s recent research into the e-commerce ecosystem would suggest otherwise. In our conversations with CEOs/Founders of leading e-commerce platforms, many noted that while typically 90% of transactions remain Cash on Delivery during Black Friday deals, when prepaid payments are incentivised, the numbers get flipped on their heads. This suggests that the problem isn’t trust or a cultural preference for cash, but instead it’s a question of incentives.

I particularly loved the last line. Businesses are always a game of incentives. While you maybe right in your changing the world first moto, that has to come via the better incentives route. Otherwise, you will end up exhausting yourself too early too often. On the flipside though, part of the problem with Fintech is also the regulatory requirements. From the same newsletter again:

The Pakistan government can learn from the Singaporean government’s strategy.  The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the state’s regulatory body, abstains from regulating fintech startups until they become a significant rival to the country’s financial system. The vision behind this is clear – the country does not want to impede innovation through tight and often constricting regulations. I am not arguing that this is the exact approach that should be used, but rather that there is a lot of space in between that can be explored to ensure that there is enough room for continued experimentation resulting in better and more adaptive solutions.

Sorry for the long excerpts but the newsletter conveys the point very well. Do read the whole thing here.