Bloc is a financial services company that supports and empowers businesses, regardless of size, with seamless access to essential financial tech integrations and tools. Their solution includes a suite of business banking services and a robust API infrastructure. Edmund Olotu, the Founder/Chief Innovation Officer at Bloc shares Bloc’s story, journey and features.
Bloc is on a mission to help companies who want to unlock immense opportunities with financial technology.
Bloc's mission is clear: to help companies unlock vast opportunities through financial technology. This mission isn't just a statement; it's a driving force behind everything Bloc does.
Bloc's journey started in 2021, 10 years before they were known as TechAdvance. During this earlier phase, TechAdvance had been deeply immersed in various technological ventures, with a focus on financial services, particularly bill payment products.
However, the journey to building financial products from scratch was not easy. It was a journey filled with challenges and a realization that the financial innovation ecosystem remained largely foreign territory, especially on the continent.
Building financial products from scratch is incredibly tough. We saw a huge gap in financial innovation, particularly in our region. We knew that many others would face similar obstacles in their attempts.
Recognizing that several companies and individuals might be interested in solving this problem but may face troubles, Bloc was founded to empower businesses by removing the hurdles between them and the promise of financial innovation.
Bloc's offerings are a trifecta designed to empower businesses, from startups to large enterprises. Their suite of tools and APIs:
Bloc caters to startups, SMEs, and organizations differently;
- Startups: Access to both business banking services and Bloc's API infrastructure, eliminating the complexity of offering financial services.
- SMEs: Enjoy a comprehensive business banking experience with additional features like bill payments, POS terminals, and corporate cards.
- Large Organizations: Gain a tool to launch new financial services within their company, from salary accounts to vendor payments, on a robust business banking product.
What sets Bloc apart is its commitment to giving businesses more control over their financial innovation journey. With Bloc, businesses can unlock the full potential of financial technology.
Bloc is ready to adapt and evolve in response to economic changes and the dynamic needs of businesses in the digital space.
Our unique value proposition is that we give our customers more control over how they want to innovate with FinTech.
Much of Bloc's evolution has been driven by close engagement with customers. Understanding their most pressing needs and building a team that spots opportunities before they become obvious and builds for them.
Regarding pricing, Bloc recognises the importance of offering the right value for money, especially amid economic shifts. Pricing models have been reviewed and adjusted to ensure customers continue to receive compelling value.
Bloc also offers a user-friendly API. Despite being a growing product, integration remains straightforward. Detailed API documentation is available at docs.blochq.io and public Postman collections provide comprehensive resources for customers to interact seamlessly with the API.
Most of our evolution has come from conversations with our customers and helping them solve their most pressing needs. We also have a brilliant team that’s adept at spotting opportunities before they become obvious, and we build for that.
Bloc emphasises a hands-on approach. Dedicated channels on their Partners Slack facilitate direct communication with tech teams, addressing questions and issues during integration. Regular feature updates to the Bloc API reflect continuous learning about use cases, granting customers greater flexibility while maintaining regulatory compliance. Bloc's API empowers developers and businesses to explore various use cases:
1. Digital Banking Services: Including accounts, cards, and transfers.
2. Local Payments for International Remittance: Collect local payments (NGN).
3. Online Payments: Utilize Payment Links or Collection Accounts for seamless online transactions.
4. Lending Products: Leveraging accounts and KYC processes.
5. Savings Platforms: Savings through wallets.
Regarding security and compliance, all banking services are backed by two CBN-licensed financial institutions. Their payment products operate under a PSSP license held by Gpay Instant Solutions Ltd, a Bloc subsidiary. Additionally, their POS terminals leverage a PTSP license through a partnership with eTop Solutions.
Bloc adheres to stringent standards. They maintain PCI-DSS compliance, essential for financial institutions, and hold ISO-27001 certification to ensure the highest levels of information security. Bloc's commitment to security and compliance ensures the safety of both financial services and APIs.
We’ll continue to listen to our customers and build for their pain points. We have a few products in the pipeline such as foreign accounts, international payments, physical debit cards, tap-to-pay POS devices, and so much more.
Bloc's future is all about customer-driven innovation. They listen closely to their customers and develop new products to address their needs.
Bloc has seen impressive progress. They started with a strong sign-up rate, attracting over 700 companies when they first launched in 2021. By early 2023, over 500 organisations had joined, with around 70 actively integrating Bloc's API.
Our recent introduction of business banking services aims to present Bloc as a solution to the over 4 million SMEs looking for simple financial solutions to run their business in Nigeria.
Bloc is also making strides in serving SMEs, aiming to provide simple financial solutions to millions of small businesses in Nigeria.
Bloc's story isn't just about building a business; it's about reshaping the financial technology ecosystem, making it more accessible innovative and beneficial to everyone who dares to dream and build big.