DreamOval: A Software Development House and Financial Services Company in Ghana

Claud Kweku Hutchful, CEO of DreamOval, gives an overview of the fintech industry and payment applications sector in Ghana, and presents DreamOval, a software development house with a focus on fintech, as well as a financial services company.

Interview with Claud Kweku Hutchful, CEO of DreamOval

Claud Kweku Hutchful, CEO of DreamOval

What are the latest trends and developments in the sector here in Ghana? What are the needs from the clients?

There are a number of interesting things happening regarding technology. We are primarily a fintech company and there is currently a boom in the industry. It is a very active market. DreamOval offers a number of payment applications. We have one that we run in collaboration with Stanbic Bank called Slydepay. We also have many other competitors in that space. I have traveled a bit around Africa and it seems that Ghana has something unique in regard to the fintech industry and payment applications. Recently, the Central Bank has clamped down on us and required that we be regulated. It seems that we grew on their blindside. For us, it is an interesting development. We welcome the regulation, but we hope that it will not stifle innovation. We see a lot of fintech applications doing well. We see that there is potential for growth. We also see a lot of tech hubs outside fintech, such as agritech businesses, in the system. We also see a lot of CSR and activities around educating young children and young ladies in technology. We have our own foundation and we run the Africa Code Week. We also do a program called iTeach where we take teachers on a one-week course in technology. The whole idea is that we will be able to impact them so that they impact their children. We build technology, we run technology services, and we need a market that appreciates technology. So, we try to align our CSR activities to our company goals. In that same space, we see lots of things going on, lots of hubs, lots of IT training. Generally speaking, there is a great market and great opportunity and we are happy to be playing in this space. We will be successful and even our competition will be successful.

What are your competitive advantages?

We are exporting our technology to other parts of the continent. Before the end of the year, we will be launching some of our products in South Africa. All this is possible because we have great references in Ghana.

DreamOval is predominately a software development house with a focus in fintech. We also consider ourselves to be a financial services company because we run a payment platform. In terms of our strength, we have been able to create a development culture and an understanding of the market and processes that enable us to turn out innovations quickly, innovations that will meet the market needs. That is why we believe our strength lies in our development culture, our processes and our general structure as a business. You see us always leading the country in terms of technology. For example, in Ghana, about three million people have interacted in some way with our software or services powered by us that we sell to banks and other businesses. We have e-statement solutions, which basically are a financial advisory we provide to the banks, we are able to see details on your account, how you are spending your money, we have graphs in there to help you understand and plan your finances better. We also have solutions like Smart Notify providing our customers with the technology and services that they need, when they need them.

How do you achieve this outside of Ghana?

We are exporting our technology to other parts of the continent. Before the end of the year, we will be launching some of our products in South Africa. All this is possible because we have great references in Ghana. We have the Slydepay platform and we also have our solutions installed in six of the top banks in Ghana. All these great references will give us the opportunity to do work for other businesses in Africa.

What challenges do you face?

One of the biggest challenges for software and technology companies in our part of the world is access to capital. We are lucky to have angel investors and two of them supported us in starting up the business. Our interest rates are quite high here in Ghana, so you need to be smarter in your strategies for scaling which, ultimately, will be slower. So that is a major challenge. All stakeholders within the Ghanaian economy and the government are working hard to change that and have our market thrive.

Are you looking for partnerships?

Partnerships are very important to us. That is one of the key ways to scale. We already have a number of partnerships and we are pursuing them extensively.

Are you looking at partnerships with international companies?

We already have some international partnerships in some of the solutions that we do. For example, in some of our platforms, there are things that are done better by other people and we use such technology to achieve our customer goals.

You have not been looking to attract specific partners or in specific areas?

We are open to it, but it depends on the industry that we play in. If it is fintech, we are open to partnerships there, but a partnership that goes both ways. It would be not only us using some of their tech, but them also using some of our tech because we believe that we have created solutions that are really powerful and which can be of benefit to any other partner. We are looking for bilateral partnerships.

Project yourself into the medium term, two to three years’ time, what is your vision?

Considering our market being Ghana and Africa, our major goal within the next three years is to position ourselves as a digitalization company. Within our market, there is a movement from manual processes to electronic processes which will ultimately drive the development of our subregion. We, at DreamOval, want to position ourselves to be the technology leaders that will help Africa on that digitalization journey. That is our focus. So, a lot of our internal work and platforms that we have are towards that agenda. We currently focus in the financial industry, but we have done work in transport, as well working at the port. At the end of the day, our vision is really to be a part of the transformation of Africa using technology.

Is your long-term vision to become public one day?

That is one of the milestones for any tech company. At some point, we hope to go public, but only after we have executed a number of our strategies across Africa.


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