How This Entrepreneur is Building the Future with BingTellar: A Crypto Utility Startup

Hello, who are you and what are you working on?

My name is Joshua Tebepina and I’m the co-founder and CEO of Bingtellar.  I’m from Bayelsa state, born in Lagos state and I’m the 4th of 6.

I studied Medical laboratory science and then computer science & informatics at the University where I started my software engineering journey. Crazy days indeed, I remember how I used to risk and miss exams for coding hackathons & tech gatherings and all of those was because I was obsessed with building, I wanted to do something that will impact lives and allow me the freedom to be creative, and that lead me to build lots of products and co-founding few startups.  


Today, what I’m building is the future of finance and payments on the blockchain for users and businesses in Africa. At bingtellar, we are building the bridge and required rails for crypto, which would help connect Africans seamlessly to the digital economy. 

In short words, Bingtellar is an all-in-one place for your crypto needs. On our platform, you can exchange crypto, and gift cards and also use crypto for everyday consumption like sending money within and out of Africa, paying bills and shopping.

What motivated you to get started with your startup?

I’ve been building solutions for web3 businesses for years, but experiencing a problem first-hand made me really go in to fix it. 

So yeah, Bingtellar was started from a personal experience, a friend of mine was in the UK and wanted to send money to his sick mom in Nigeria but couldn’t find an affordable way to do it and it was an emergency so he reached out to me and I figured crypto could help save the day, so he sent me some money equivalent to naira in crypto and while I was trying to convert it to cash on a popular P2P crypto exchange I got scammed, after spending much time appealing nothing happened and so I had to do the cash settlement myself because it was an emergency. Right there I knew there was a problem and the problems were:

 (1). Cross-border payments and money transfers are expensive, slow and broken.

(2). The ability to move between fiat and crypto is far too complicated and also the P2P way of exchanging crypto is risky, and not efficient.

I figured out things could be re-routed but really no one wants to shoulder the troubles. I like challenges so I picked it up as a side project and started building it, people loved it and we are here.

Worth Reading: BingPay: How We Bootstrapped Our Way to $30,000 Transaction Volume in Just 6 Months.
What specific problem are you solving with your startup and how is it unique?

The two key challenges users and businesses face when looking to onboard users into web3 and the crypto economy is access and utility. 

Today there is significant unrealised potential for crypto utility in the real world, today users think crypto can only be used as an investment vehicle right? But there’s more to crypto and we want to change this narrative by building easy-to-use crypto-powered products.

Our traditional currencies weren’t built to solve cross-border payments, the naira won’t work outside Nigeria; the cedi won’t work outside Ghana. It’s the same thing everywhere. Crypto is the only solution that really works right now and someone has to build a unified layer for this kind of transaction and that’s where we come in. Bingtellar is here to close the gap in order to drive real-world utility, whether that be in form of merchant payments, off-ramping to your bank account, remittance and many more untapped use cases. 

And that’s really what makes us unique, we are people obsessed and we always want to be at the centre of innovation and importantly simplify processes for users.

For example, most crypto platforms operate using the P2P model thereby leaving users to manage risk themselves but we don’t do that, Bingtellar mitigates all the risk involved in P2P transactions. Thus, offers users the opportunity to self-liquidate their digital assets (Crypto, gift cards) instantly to cash at the best rates possible.

How do you fund your startup?

Bingtellar is self-funded, we’ve been bootstrapping and we’ve never felt money has to be the key essential point, building for our users has always been our core focus but lately, we got to a place where we decided we needed to ramp up our processes and expand globally so we are currently raising a pre-seed round to support that. We are definitely open to having you and other amazing people join us.

Awesome. Where do you see your startup in the next 5 years?

Tough one, Honestly, I want a billion-dollar company. Our goal is to help millions of Africans tap into the global digital economy. We believe to unlock global payments and crypto’s true potential, Fiat-to-crypto or Crypto-to-fiat transactions should simply just work. In 4-5 years, Bingtellar will be the go-to platform for crypto that provides users with modern financial services backed by cryptocurrencies, whenever you mention crypto utility Bingtellar will be the first startup you think of.

Tough job yeah but we will get it done, most definitely.

Have you had failed business before?

Oh, yea I have. I’ve built so many products and businesses, I’ve done a thing in entertainment, I’ve done an e-commerce business, I’ve co-founded a digital tech solutions firm, and so many and they somehow succeeded or basically just failed. Crazy how I never gave up, even when I decided to quit and focus on a career job, Bingtellar came knocking, guess it’s safe to say it was meant to happen.

How do you get users or customers to your startups?

We’ve been getting users by word of mouth and from our extended network, and we’ve always been active in the local crypto communities. We’ve seen over 40% average monthly active users over the last months from those channels. 

We are really conscious about marketing, especially blitzscaling, you don’t want to onboard thousands of users and don’t satisfy them, so it’s better you grow at a reasonable rate and maintain it. Marketing is really more of experimentation till you get the one that works for you and it’s better when it’s organic, especially in the early days.

What’s the craziest story that happened from building your startup?

Maaaaaan, so much, can’t even pick. But really regulatory compliance has been one thing that’s always given me a headache. I have so many stories on that already, Imagine waking up with an insane product idea and then halfway coding it you remember you have some battles to fight. Almost every single person we told about what we were building at the start said we were crazy. But my answer is that if it can be done, we are the ones to do it.

What are some of the resources, books, podcasts or videos that you learn from?

One of my favourite books is “Zero to One” by Peter Thiel, then “The Hard Thing About Hard Things “ by Ben Horowitz, “The Startup Playbook by David S. Kidder” and “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson.

Those books really helped me understand why companies scaled and how, essential things to consider when building products, and also how to experiment quickly and still maintain growth as a company.

Any advice for other entrepreneurs trying to weather the storm?

Start with what you have, do not wait for the perfect time. You’ve got to be resilient, nothing happens easily, every day as an entrepreneur is honestly you deciding to jump from a moving train and then repeating it every single day, so you have to be ready for the great times, tough times and all times. Build with people you care about and vice versa, people you can share moments with, people who would always be there for you even when things get tough. Lastly, ignore the hype and focus on the actual work, everything you’ve ever wished for is at the other side of your fears, keep it going, and to the moon it is.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *