On Saturday the 6th of June, the Zone Tech Park at Gbadaga, Lagos, played host to the inaugural product launch from Hollaport Technologies Ltd.
What is Hollaport? Founded by Alhaji Kabiru Rabiu, Group Executive Director of Nigerian conglomerate Bua Group, Hollaport is a multi-layered messaging and financial technology platform through which people can send and receive money using their phone contacts.
Available for download on the Android and IOS app stores, the app includes airtime top-up; cable, electricity and data subscription; and paycode – a feature that enables recipients to withdraw cash from an ATM without a bank card.
How does it work? After opening remarks from the founder at the launch, General Manager of Hollaport, Mr. Michael Olowojesiku, took the audience through a live demonstration of the app.
The General Manager opened the app on his phone, flipped through his phone contacts, selected one, and then sent an invite for the contact to chat with him on the Hollaport platform. The contact he selected was a Hollaport staff member who was also in the room and they proceeded to exchange greetings in the chat room which was displayed on projector screens for the audience to see. It’s important to note that both contacts have to have the app downloaded in order to interact.
While still in the chat room, his contact then requested he transfer money to him. The GM went to his Hollaport wallet, keyed in an amount, and sent the money to the wallet of the recipient. The Hollaport mobile wallet is a key feature of the app which can be funded from an existing bank account and used for financial transactions.
Another feature to also create chat groups exists. This is similar to Whatsapp but with the key difference being that the invitee has to consent to be added to the group before they can be added.
The Hollaport ecosystem: The firm intends for the app to be a lifestyle partner for users. One that houses all needs of social interaction and financial transactions on one platform through the vehicle of convenience.
Will the app support FX and Crypto transactions? After the live demonstration, the floor was opened up for questions. Nairametrics asked the founder if the Hollaport mobile wallet would support forex transactions for cross-border remittances and if it would also support cryptocurrencies.
Alhaji Rabiu responded that cross-border transactions are not available now, but definitely part of the additional features planned for the app in the near future. The intention is for funds to be sent to other African destinations, with the recipient being able to use the funds in their local currency. He further stated that with over $22bn sent from the Diaspora to Nigeria in 2017, Hollaport is focused on facilitating such transfers in the future.
There are no immediate intentions however, to support cryptocurrencies. This is due to their volatile nature.
Hollaport and Financial Inclusion: Financial Inclusion is a major issue in Nigeria, with over half of the adult population being unbanked and only a fraction of the banked using technology to carry out transactions. Seeing this disconnect, Hollaport Technologies aims to reduce the learning curve associated with mobile applications and has taken time to develop a lifestyle tool that can fit in all areas of life, while maintaining ease-of-use.
Hollaport’s General Manager, Michael Olowojesiku, said the following “the question has never been one of when, but of how, and this is the gap we intend to fill in the Nigerian market”.