Gbowo - Peer to peer currency exchange marketplace for USD/Naira


#1

Hey Radians,

If you’re always (or ever) looking for the best value for your money when exchanging USD for Naira or vice versa, then Gbowo is for you. Gbowo is a peer to peer currency exchange marketplace that allows anyone in the USA to send/receive money from Nigeria at a low fee and the exchange rate you want.

We built Gbowo as a solution to a problem many of us face when trying to convert currency at a good rate and also avoid unnecessary fees. Check it out! https://www.gbowo.com/

Thanks


#3

This is interesting. I’m curious as to how setting your exchange will work in practice. Do you think that’s not introducing friction to your users?

Are you looking to expand to other countries in the short term? Obviously, make sure sense to start from somewhere like the U.S.

Also, I think you need to include some more information about yourself on your website. Of course, it’s early days but since it’s money transfer we’re talking about - users need assurance their money wouldn’t disappear into thin air.

Talking of your website, it looks sleek and clean. But, do you like that infographic? I felt it was too busy and wasn’t selling the value of the service properly.

Good luck :+1:t6:


#4

Hi Papa, thank you for the feedback. The way the exchange works is that we match users with USD looking for Naira with others that have Naira looking for USD. As exchange rates are agreed between both users, you can get the best value for your money. This process itself is not new as many people have been manually doing this for several years i.e you find a friend or family that will trade you USD/Naira at a rate you both agree on and then send funds to each others bank accounts or wherever the money needs to go. We’re just using technology to make it easier, faster and add a layer of trust in the process by ensuring the money does not exchange hands until we have verified the funds from both parties involved in a transaction.

Re: Friction, we believe if users can get the best value for their money and we can do that within 24 hours with a lower fee than other alternatives, then it’s worth it. As with any marketplace, the issue is always ensuring you have enough buyers/sellers and we have made some partnerships that will help us address that issue. However we continue to learn and are ready to make any necessary changes based on what we see that users need.

Yes, we do plan to expand to other countries but our focus for now is USA/Nigeria.

I agree on adding more information about the team on the website and we intend to do so. I think for now, we just wanted to put up a landing page with some information about what we have been working on and have people who are interested sign up to get early access for the application. As we get closer to a public launch, the website will be revamped and will have more in depth information.

Thanks for the website feedback as well. We added the infographic as additional support for the overall problem we are looking to solve which is reducing the cost of international money transfers in and out of Nigeria/Africa. We thought about removing it but some people have said they like it so we figured maybe we’ll just leave it for now. Once we do the website revamp, we won’t have it there anymore so it’s a temporary thing.

Hope I have been able to answer all your questions but please let me know if anything else. Thanks again for taking the time to check out the website and leave some feedback, much appreciated. Please sign up as well if this is something that can work for you!


#5

You’re right about this. However, I’m curious as to how it will work in practice on your platform. For instance, whenever I need to send money via my brother (just like you described above), it’s actually a quick conversation (see below attached), as we use AbokiFx as our agreed rate. Are you going for a transparent preferred/suggested rate suggestion for users?

And you can see, for my transactions, It means that even though the rate is ‘manually’ determined (between my brother & I), it’s a stress-free user experience for both of us. We’re both not haggling or going back & forth, or sending endless messages, to determine the best rate.

Of course, maybe you prefer to gamify the experience and attract users who are seeking the ‘best’ deal…

In any case, I don’t live in the states so wouldn’t need your service. But, I’ve signed up and will be on the lookout for when you expand to other countries.


#6


#7

I’ll explain how the system works with an example. Let say I have $300 that I would like to convert to Naira and send to my dad’s bank account at GTB. I go on Gbowo and post my offer of $300 and also the rate that I want as N350:USD1. My offer goes in the marketplace and another user in Nigeria (or anywhere in the world as long as you have a Nigerian bank account) likes my offer and accepts because he needs USD. The Naira is then sent from the person that accepted my offer to my dad’s GTB account and now the person has the $300 from me that can be sent to any bank account of their choice in the USA. (We are also working on adding the ability to pull the money from the USA to a dom account in Nigeria for those who might be interested in this feature).

So there’s no haggling involved. If my original offer that I posted is not accepted within 24 hours, the system kicks it back to me and suggests that my rate might be too high and I should look to repost with a better rate request.

The situation you described with your brother is great when you have someone that has funds and you can exchange currency with but what if you don’t have a relative or close friend and still need foreign currency? or what if your brother does not have funds readily available at the time when you need it? In this case you’ll be forced to find someone else you can trust that has funds available to do the transaction. Also, keep in mind there’s always that risky element where one person has to send the money first before the other person does during these manual exchanges. Yes, you can say that’s why you find people you can trust but I think we can all agree that trust can be betrayed. So these are all issues we believe Gbowo will help address.

Thanks for signing up! Fyi, the service is not necessarily based on where you live but more so on someone looking for Naira or USD and has a Nigerian or American bank account. For example, if you are in Nigeria you could easily use this service to send USD to any bank account in the USA just by accepting the offer from another user with USD that is looking for Naira. Also offers can be posted from anyone with a Nigerian bank account looking for USD and users with a US bank account can accept provided they like your rate.


#8

For now we don’t suggest rates but we have a daily rate screen where users can see the parallel, mid-market and official bank rate. The daily rate screen can help users make informed decision when posting or accepting an offer.


#9

Sorry to go slightly off topic but what does “gbowo” mean ? Is it Yoruba ?

I’m more of a brand person than a techie. I find the name pretty aggressive. But then again I don’t like Konga for the same reason either.


#10

Ahh, this makes sense! And thanks @gladex for the detailed explanation as well. I’m sure it will be useful for others to know how your system works. Money no be play play matter :joy:!


#11

hahaha na true o, no be play play matter :grinning: all good, thank you for the feedback and appreciate you signing up!


#12

Yes Gbowo is Yoruba and it means to give or receive money depending on the context of how it is used. For us, it fits what our product is about and we like it :grinning: We also like the fact that no matter where in the world we take Gbowo, the name will always identify with something that is from Nigeria. In my humble opinion, name alone does not define a brand. In fact, I would argue that the name (though important) means less than what you actually build the name on.


#13

The name make sense joor


#14

Interesting concepts.
Thanks for bring such a service to Nigerians.
Wish you success.


#15

Deposit to Nigerian Dorm accounts is very key, so you will need to enable fast. I feel that will be the key driver to adoption.


#16

Copy copy :smiley: https://github.com/adelowo/gbowo


#17


#18

Thank you, much appreciated!


#19

Thank you for the feedback. Yes we are definitely keeping that in mind as a useful feature and it is part of the product. We will start with one bank and look to add more in a way that passes on the most savings to our users.


#20

haha well, our product is different so no copying there and also we bought the domain name back in Feb 2012. Looks like you’re 1yr old on naming your product so the real question is who’s copying who? :grinning: Let me guess, you didn’t search to see if the name was taken before using it :joy: Saying all of this in good fun by the way. I’m just happy to see us all working on progressive ideas.


#21