Imagine, for a moment, a resident in the United States tasked with the crucial responsibility of financially supporting loved ones abroad. The speed and cost of this seemingly simple act (to send money) of love can be daunting. For millions across the globe, living away from their homeland is a reality. Bridging that geographical distance through financial support to loved ones back home often incurs hefty fees and slow transfer speeds. However, a blockchain fintech startup, Orokii, is challenging the money transfer status quo by offering affordable, rapid cross-border remittance to alleviate financial exclusion for diaspora communities worldwide.
Founded by a Nigerian entrepreneur Bisi Adedokun, Orokii is the newest player in the remittance landscape, leveraging blockchain technology to disrupt traditional money transfer paradigms. The World Bank notes that individuals in the U.S. contribute an impressive $74.6 billion annually to low- and middle-income countries. Unfortunately, with transaction fees averaging 6%, sending a thousand dollars overseas, for instance, could incur a $60 fee, a substantial amount of the needed financial support. Bisi’s Orokii aims to mitigate this loss.
A multi-faceted professional with experience spanning software development, finance, banking, and business management, Bisi’s journey from Lagos to the forefront of financial innovation is inspiring. After receiving his computer science degree from the University of Lagos, Bisi furthered his education at Georgia Tech, IE Business School (MBA), and NYU. His rich tapestry of experience spans software development, operational strategy, finance, banking, and business management, solidifying his expertise in navigating the complex crossroads of finance and technology.
Upon his arrival in the US in 1993, Bisi made strides in the tech industry, founding Acenonyx, a company specializing in mobile business applications. After a successful exit in 2014, he lent his expertise to Deutsche Bank’s nascent blockchain team, providing cybersecurity expertise for seven years before launching Orokii in 2021.
Orokii was born from Bisi’s experience with the exorbitant costs of sending money home during the pandemic. Despite the saturated fintech landscape, none provided a broad mix of fast, affordable domestic and international money transfers on one platform. His experience at Deutsche Bank, coupled with a three-month Blockchain Application Program at MIT, allowed him to unravel the power of blockchain, a technology capable of reducing transaction fees and improving financial inclusion for those outside the reach of traditional financial services.
Orokii ensures faster transactions and offers a cost advantage, boasting a transaction fee of up to 30% cheaper than competitors. Domestic wallet transfers and withdrawals are provided at no additional cost, significantly reducing the financial burden on its multicultural diaspora customers. Orokii is also the only app that brings together the strength of recognized money transfer/ remittances powerhouses such as WorldRemit, Wise, SendWave, Flutterwave Send, and Remitly with prominent US domestic peer-to-peer fintech startups like Zelle, Venmo, and Cash App in one all-encompassing app. The app, available on the App Store and Google Play, enables instant domestic and international money transfers, serving over 50 countries, including Mexico, Nigeria, the UK, the Philippines, and China.
Orokii’s service excellence is best captured through the experience of a user from the Philippines: “The first time she did this, it took about 17 minutes, and she was like, ‘wow, this used to take three to four days.’ The second time she used the App to send money to the Philippines, it took three seconds; she was blown away. And since then, she has been using the Orokii App to send money to the Philippines,” Bisi recounted.
Beyond Peer-to-Peer (P2P) transactions, Orokii extends its offerings to Businesses (small and medium-sized enterprises) that must pay payroll to overseas employees, invoices, or other international business payments. A favorite among users is the wallet feature, which provides flexibility in managing and utilizing funds.
With a Georgia Tech Master’s degree in Cybersecurity, Bisi prioritizes the app’s security, assuring users of its robust fraud prevention mechanisms and strong encryption layers. “Orokii is developed with the “secure by design” principle, ensuring robust layers of security and encryption to safeguard against fraud,” said Bisi.
Moreover, Orokii is not just about business; it also has a heart for the community. In its efforts to give back, the company has introduced a rewards program encouraging philanthropy. Users receive cash-back rewards regularly during promotions or other in-app events, which can be donated to a nonprofit organization of their choice. This unique blend of finance and philanthropy reinforces the company’s social responsibility ethos and commitment to serving and giving back to its community.
Orokii’s commitment to security also bears testament to its reliability. Emphasizing the platform’s ‘secure-by-design principle, Bisi reassured users about the safety of their transactions. “We’ve selected a platform renowned for its robustness. It provides strong security layers and advanced encryption mechanisms to ensure our users’ funds and personal information remain protected,” he stated.
In this digital age, Orokii is cementing its place as a pioneer in integrating blockchain technology and financial services. Bisi’s vision for Orokii extends far beyond its current achievements. With the mantra, “Innovate or die,” the Orokii team continuously looks for ways to enhance its platform’s performance and efficiency to create better user experience.
“We’re nurturing an innovation culture within Orokii. While it’s crucial to keep developing new features, our primary focus is refining our existing capabilities to provide an unparalleled user experience,” Bisi added.
Notably, the intuitive design of the Orokii app features a user’s favorite, allowing users to resend previous transactions, thereby streamlining repeat transactions. This feature, prompted by user feedback, enhances the user experience and embodies Orokii’s customer-centric approach. “Months ago, a customer voiced the need for a resend feature. We listened, and in no time, we had it implemented. It’s a simple yet effective feature that has significantly eased the transaction process for our users,” Bisi highlighted.
With its exceptional blend of low costs, high speed, user-friendly interface, and secure transactions, Orokii is poised to transform the remittance market. Orokii promises to be a game changer in cross-border transactions for diasporans globally as it grows its user base and improves its offerings.
Written by Phillip Kulubya, Tina Zhang
Edited by Abolaji Omitogun