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October 14, 2014

ODESHI 011 - How A Former Airline Pilot Quit The Cockpit To Start East Africa’s First Online Payments Company with Eran Feinstein

Eran Feinstein is a former airline pilot who felt there was more life had to offer. After much soul searching he decided to eject from the cockpit, and parachute into the land of entrepreneurship. He is the founder of “3G Direct Pay”, a pioneer payment processing company in Eastern and Southern Africa. Eran’s, journey started as a result of a phone call from a company in East Africa that had heard about his skills as a consummate professional Airline industry specifically relating to ecommerce. With little information and a lot of guts, he immediately decides to go to Africa to help set up the ecommerce strategy for the company. Little did he know that phone call would forever change the trajectory of his life. After successfully completing the project, he decides to co-found Enoyaone to help fledgling airlines build their online booking management systems. In the course of running Enoyaone, he observed that the domestic Kenyan market had a huge gap in the Internet and payment technology space.  He subsequently launched 3G Direct Pay to provide online booking systems and credit card payment facilities for Safari enthusiasts from the U.S and Europe. Today, 3G Direct Pay is the leader in the online payment industry in Eastern & Southern Africa with operations in over 5 countries serving customers in a wide variety of industries.

What you will learn

·       How he got into start-ups

    • First start-ups  (Enoyaone Ltd)

·       How he left piloting in Israel to become a technology Entrepreneur in Africa

    • First experience of Africa

·       The Evolution of E-Payments in Kenya

·       Talent Management

    • Lack of trained personnel
      • Initially had to get developers from Israel
      • Today, the local talent has expanded and grown

·       The challenges of the business

    • Gap in knowledge
      • The merchants and the consumers find it hard to trust e-payments

·       Focus on the travel industry

    • Leading industry when it comes to online payments

·       The management style of the company

    • Work in teams to generate flow of information
    • Openness in sharing information and ideas

·       Funding for 3G  Direct

    • No investors in the last 8 years. Everything was done with personal funds without raising money or using outside investment

·       Advice for entrepreneurs regarding funding new start-ups

    • Start by yourself. You will be much more stabilized, and you will gain more experience
    •  It is much more important to know who you are and what you can do, before you go to others to ask them for their money

·       Entrepreneurs/ companies that have inspired him  

    • Southwest Airlines
      • Everyone that works with them understands why they are there

§  The vision is shared all across the company

·       The  frustrations of being an entrepreneur

    • Nothing is frustrating, but there are a ton of challenges
    • You must have a lot of patience

·       How he recovered from a  significant personal failure

    • Separating from a business partner
      • Lessons learnt:

§  When you need to take a decision, just do it

§  You need to admit to yourself that you’ve made a mistake

·       Criteria for selecting a good business partner

    •  Seek wise counsel


Key Advice

·       Advice to recent graduates who want to launch a venture:

    • Take some time and go to work with other companies to gain some experience, and then go out by yourself
    • Respect what you learned from your education, and take the basic things you learned and use it


·       Advice to someone from another country who wants to start a new business in Africa:

    • To understand and know how much they don’t know, and to respect the different mindset in that environment
    • Respect the process. Take the time to learn about the culture and the people



Words of wisdom


·       Advice to young Eran:

    • Be a bit more patient. Be the old ox, and not the young ox that runs all over.
    • Slow down. Do it slowly.





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