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Founder insights
May 5, 2022

Ruaan Botha, "there's more to getting paid than payments"

Today we’re sitting down with Ruaan Botha, founder and CEO of Revio, to hear how his venture is changing the face of subscription billing payments, across Africa.‍

Coming from a financial background, Ruaan noticed a gap in the interactions that businesses have with their customers when collecting payments – an often poor exchange that results in lost revenue and customer churn. Today, Ruaan and his team have built a platform that helps businesses retain customers by empowering them with meaningful and seamless payment experiences.

Learn more from our conversation with Ruaan below.

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Image of Ruaan Botha, founder of Revio.
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Written by
Sinalo France
Content Marketer
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Hi Ruaan! Tell us a bit about Revio.

To put it simply, Revio helps businesses turn getting paid into a competitive advantage. 

In Africa alone, three out of ten payments fail. Annually, these failed payments result in a $37 billion loss. A scary statistic.

Very few businesses have invested sufficiently to deal with payment failures. As a result many experience excessive involuntary churn rates and revenue losses.

We give our clients the tools they need to get their customers to fulfil their payment obligations by building a better customer experience around paying for them.

Where is Revio today? 

We’ve worked hard to use Africa as our proving ground for our capabilities. With our expansion in the last couple of months, we’ve proven that businesses need more than what incumbent providers can actually provide. 

Soon, Revio will serve clients in 2 more countries in Africa and we will have those markets to further prove our model. 

In 2024, we hope to start scaling in more emerging markets, specifically in Latin America.

Would you say that Revio is more suited for Third World markets than it is for Euro-American markets?

Well, you can never compare South Africa to Africa or even Europe as an example. Emerging markets have very different problems. Each market has its own payment culture, unique payment methods and regulatory requirements.

In Africa and other emerging markets, cash as a payment method is still more predominant. If you look at Nigeria as an example, a large part of the population still goes to an agent in order to pay for their DSTV account or their municipal bills. 

Emerging markets have emerging needs. This makes things more complicated than what you would see in First World markets. 

In 2020, the revenue generated by online shopping in Africa was estimated to be around 27.97 billion U.S dollars, an increase of over 6 billion since 2019.  Recent research shows that In 2025, the whole e-commerce sector in Africa might reach a value of over 46.1 billion U.S. dollars.

So digital payments are growing, and in doing so people are now able to generate a credit history that allows them access to credit and in turn buy recurring products and services that they could not before. 

This is great for local and international businesses wanting to invest.  However, they quickly learn that  recurring payment models require a service mentality associated with much higher requirements than those in conventional e-commerce. New to market businesses quickly realise they're not just selling a finished product, but rather a long term service during which the customer relationship must be continually maintained.

With Revio, we aim to help businesses deal with the complexities of collecting revenue at scale by fully automating their order-to-cash processes. Businesses are able better utilise customer data and learn from their behavioural patterns to implement engagement strategies that keep customers paying, for longer.

I’m glad that you brought up Nigeria as an example. They have had a few interesting financial products where people can use alternatives to traditional banking.

Would you say that Revio is looking into factoring that into its model?

Absolutely. Payments options are evolving worldwide and as a Fintech company that helps businesses get paid, we need to be at the forefront of new methods of payment and enable our clients to accept the ones that are most convenient to their customers.

In South Africa alone, we have many different payment methods.  For merchants, the most important thing to understand is what their customers want and how they would like to pay. With that, they must also look at their own business and business model and what different methods make sense for them.

So the question is rather, how do we make it easy for businesses to experiment with different payment methods, determine what is best suited to their business model, and what their specific customer base prefers.

Within these emerging markets, a lot of banks try to break into the informal markets. How do you think you have come to understand these markets and the different customer profiles?

Many have tried entering new markets by replicating successful business models they had elsewhere. This has led to some spectacular failures.

From our experience, each market is unique and ever-evolving. Our approach is to find complementary partners that understand the intricacies of each region and work with them to find solutions that can add value to businesses and their customers.

From our experience, each market is unique and ever-evolving. Our approach is to find complementary partners that understand the intricacies of each region and work with them to find solutions that can add value to businesses and their customers.

Where do you draw your inspiration from in the founder space? 

I think as an entrepreneur, you try to pull as much inspiration from disparate sources, not just other startups and founders. There’s an inspiration to be found in different industries. 

If you look at the Virgin Group and how they’ve had many businesses over the years, not all of their ventures were successful, but they were able to take those learnings and make their businesses stronger. That’s what inspires me. 

We try to do something very similar with Revio - rebelling against the norms. Trying to see if we can build, market and experiment differently, and do so at scale. 

You have headed several ventures. How did you get the idea to have a customer-centric platform?

Having worked in financial services for many years I got first-hand experience on how difficult it is for new or established businesses to keep up with ever-evolving customer needs and payment technology trends.

What we noticed  was that brands focus most of their budget on the acquisition and very little on retention. It’s almost as though you are a superhero when we want you to buy our product but then a criminal if the payment fails. How you are spoken to when a payment is missed, the experience is completely different. 

These days it’s just as important to keep the sales and the customer service experience the same. Retention has become the new acquisition strategy for some businesses.

Do you have any advice for future founders?

I think it's important to find the one problem that you want to solve and work towards it. Very often, we try to build our dreams from the get-go when it is a journey. You need to understand the pain point that you are solving and evolve from there. It’s hard to build everything from day one. Break it down into simple chunks and take the steps towards solving the problem. 

Second, building everything yourself is not the point of it all. These days, there is tech in everything, but there are so many tools that you can use to validate without spending $20 million to get there. Beg, borrow and leverage what you can and build only after you have proven your problem statement.

A lot of businesses miss that part - find your soul. As long as you have your core values, you’ll have everything that you need.

 

You need to collaborate to be successful in the markets.  We have partners with overlapping capabilities and it’s fine. We engage with partners and collaborate using our different capabilities. Our value proposition has become richer as a result of that. With great partners, you’re able to tap into more ecosystems and won’t have to sell your product on your own. This is how you get your business to fly. 

For example, we partnered with The Delta quite early to do just this. We were able to access skills and clients that were essential to our growth, but we didn’t need them as a permanent fixture in our business. 

It’s about being willing to engage and work with others to achieve your goals.

You need to collaborate to be successful in the markets.  We have partners with overlapping capabilities and it’s fine. We engage with partners and collaborate using our different capabilities. Our value proposition has become richer as a result of that.

You’ve mentioned working with The Delta, what was your experience like? 

Starting as a FinTech during COVID was difficult to do. We couldn’t go out to meet clients - everything had to be done electronically.

Working with The Delta turned out to be a great advantage for us, especially from a sales perspective. The Delta unlocked access to their partners and their ecosystems which was super valuable to us.

If someone wants to work with Revio, how can they get started?

You can head to our website www.revio.co.za. We have a chatbot that will engage with you depending on the need. Our team of experts is also always ready to support anyone who would like to make use of our services or engage from an SME perspective. 

If you’d like to keep up with The Delta as we support founders like Ruaan in building the future with innovative startups, follow us on LinkedIn. If you’d like to join Revio as one of the startups we support with our venture-building services, get in touch here

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