Meet The Ghanaian Founder Building The Petty Cash Management Platform
Ronald Nettey, a 26-year-old graduate from Ashesi University, has built a petty cash management platform called Request App. Ronald is an experienced Ghanaian co-founder with a demonstrated history of working in the computer software industry. He is skilled in Web Design, Mobile App Development, and User Interaction Design and Experience. He is also the co-founder of Tech Era, a technology-based social enterprise pioneering a new transformation model in Africa. One of such transformations is saving all eyes in Africa from myopia. The young entrepreneur has a strong design taste and a flaming desire for innovation. He participated in the MTN Ayoba Hackathon in August 2021, which had 250 entries. 60 participants were selected from the number, and out of this, he emerged among the top 5. Ronald describes himself as one with a heart to help people and a lover of dogs.
Yet to officially launch, Request App has made Payment Requests easy. The platform is a progressive web app that allows users to send and receive payment requests(expenses, invoices, salaries, receipts) between friends, family, etc., with efficient tracking and record keeping. According to the founder, the idea materialised through his discomfort with the tedious processes attached to recording requisitions. It was either through spreadsheets or books that required your presence at the office.
“Being a tech-savvy individual, this did not sit well with me, and I knew I had to do something that would be simple, efficient and easy to use by anyone. At this point, it was still a concept in mind until I experienced a serious burnout. It was a terrible one, I must say, I needed to recover, and I needed to do something about it.”
“Request never had a launch date, at least not yet. Rather than getting a waiting list set up, we believed in getting feedback as early as possible; thus, we built the platform during the MTN hackathon. We started documenting our processes on Twitter, building an audience simultaneously and trying hard to get constructive feedback with what we had no matter how buggy it was. Being a perfectionist, this was one tough thing to do, but it paid off. Our focus now is to market the product more while streamlining the platform focus on the actual needs of the customers and not what we assume them to be.”
“Currently, from feedback of users and potential customers, the concept of request has been streamlined to petty cash management. Several other branches of request are being experimented on. Still, for now (will surely change as we keep learning), our value proposition is making petty cash management easy: send, receive, approve, and record petty cash transactions with ease,” Ronald said.
The request app is entirely not so different from several fintech products. The founder picked inspiration from the Abeg and Wave app, with his focus and attention bent on creating an easy and great experience for customers. Initially, the idea for the request was for record-keeping, a tool to improve productivity through automation and other integrations. However, upon further usage and interaction with early adopters, many expressed their desire to make monetary transactions with the platform, which stirred the founder to make it easier for companies, especially to manage petty cash.
Speaking on the features, the innovator mentioned that the Request App has Spaces. These are groups or environments where requests are sent and received within. Every user has a private and shared space. Users can use private spaces to send requests to family, friends, etc. Shared spaces are usually spaces created by companies of which the user is a member. All company-wide requests happen within this space, of which management features will be made available to the owner/admin of the space.
Another feature is the Send request. The feature allows users to send purchase requests to anyone in a space: for example, a purchase request for buying fuel or groceries.
The Approve requests is another incredible feature on the platform. There is always a level of approval within company spaces before a request can be processed, thus the Approval feature. Approvers within a space (they don’t need to have an account) get notified of a request requiring a higher approval level via mail. From there, they can approve or decline a request. This only occurs if a request is explicitly sent to a user with the Financial Manager role. Once a request is declined, it’s declined automatically with no action from the financial manager; else, the financial manager gets the option to proceed with accepting the incoming request.
Furthermore, the Request App has the Invitation feature: this feature allows users to create “Invitation links”, which helps new users to join spaces.
Lastly, another feature in progress is the “Requests and Receipts”. The feature allows users to send requests to guests via email or SMS.
Other features to look out for are the Receipt for companies and integration with companies accounting software.
Request App will double down on its marketing to reach more customers for its next step. The platform will also shift from record-keeping to financial transactions and establish requests as the go-to platform for companies to manage their petty cash and purchase requisition processes.
Ending with this, Ronald stated, “You don’t know it all. Get feedback as early as possible and stir whatever you’re building in the direction that solves the problem of your customers. Don’t build everything before looking for the users. I must say that this is one of the craziest and riskiest things I’ve done, but by God’s grace, I’ve learned and still learning so much. It’s an interesting yet difficult journey, but you’ve got to keep going once you know what you’re providing is of value to someone.”