What Is Bento Africa? Why Is CEO Trending?

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The public has drawn more interest in Bento Africa within the past few days, and it is not for the very best reasons. A recent publication by Tech Cabal revealed horrible practices by their CEO, Ebunoluwa Okunbanjo.

Bento Africa is a business solutions company with one of the leading payroll software solutions in Nigeria today, their products include; Scrip Sign, Accountant, and People.

The company was founded in the year 2016 and was formerly known as VerifiNG, but had a change of name in 2019 when the founders, wanted their services to expand beyond just pension, healthcare, and taxes.

Bento Africa: History, functions, all you need to know

Though a reputable tech company in Africa, Bento was not that popular in the public domain before the recent scandal surrounding their CEO.

The company was founded by Ebun Okubanjo and Chidozie Okonkwo in the year 2016 as a payroll and human resources platform to help companies manage their employees’ salaries.

Bento Africa uses cloud-based technology to power salaries, benefits, and human resources, as their products are for employers who understand that a well-cared labour force is a competitive advantage for employers who want to save time and cost.

According to information on their website, the company services top brands like Mavin Records, Hotels NG, Lost In Lagos, Bamboo, Hygeia, and Tangerine Africa, and Y Combinator-backed startups Paystack, Kobo360, Branch, and LORI Systems. A publication on Business Day from December 2021 also revealed that Bento Africa has processed over $40 million in payroll for over 700 active Nigerian businesses since launching in 2019.

What is Bento App used for: How does it work?

Bento Mobile app gives users real-time data of their cash flow on the go, as they can check balance, overall spend, and expenses are broken out by categories in a simple to understand layout.

Users can also quickly attach receipts to their transactions, with the AI-enabled AutoMatch, users simply take a picture of a receipt (or upload one from their phone) which will auto-match to the correct transaction.

Beyond empowering African businesses by equipping them with world-class payroll and HRM solutions, Bento redefines employee benefits, opening them up to a world of innovative products and services including credit solutions, insurance, savings, investments, and more, all of which boosts morale and improves their overall quality of life. A win-win for both employer and employee.

Pay by Bento: This is a cloud-based payroll support solution that enables employers to pay salaries, taxes, and benefits with the click of a button. It is simple, intuitive, and efficient, allowing employees access to rent loans, school fees, and other credit opportunities.

ScriptSign: This is an API that allows your users to sign documents in a breeze.

Most employees are unable to cover their basic needs like rent and school fees and are starved of credit solutions to solve this problem. For instance, an average employee in Nigeria and the United States of America both earn $24, 000 (N10 million) a year. Each month, they get $2000 (N833, 000) and both have to buy a car for $36,000 (N15 million). The employee in the USA who lives on a credit system would find it easier to buy a car than an employee living in Nigeria without a credit system.

This is because the lenders or service providers in the USA can look at the employee’s credit records and know that based on the yearly pay, the employee can pay a certain amount monthly over a number of years to complete payment. However, in a county like Nigeria, most services have to be paid immediately which means most employees will have to borrow to maintain the same lifestyle.

Bento is making an attempt to solve this problem by partnering with companies like Schoolable, a Nigerian edtech start-up. Schoolable provides stakeholders of K-12 schools access to credit. In essence, they help parents pay the bulk tuition of their children while they pay back every month with interest.

With the end-to-end API integration of both platforms, employees who use the Bento app can access Schoolable’s services. For instance, an employee who earns N200,000 monthly and needs to pay a rent of N300,000 annually can subscribe to schoolable and pay N30,000 monthly via Bento.

Another company Bento is partnering with is Kwaba, a rental property platform that gives instant loans for customers to pay for homes in convenient installments. This is beneficial, especially with millions of Nigerians living in rented apartments and spending almost half of their income on rent payments.

Horrible Bosses: How Bento Africa CEO was suspended

Bento Africa CEO Ebun Okubanjo, has been suspended from all “people-related” decisions of the company, this came after a report by Tech Cabal revealed the demeaning treatment he had subjected his staff to.

“We instructed that Ebun take some time off and removed him from all people-related decisions for now. Chidozie will now lead on this along with the country managers and functional heads,” a statement on the firm’s website said.

“We are aware of the wider impact the conversation has sparked and we will lean into it, not just at Bento but across our personal portfolios – there is no place in the world for a workplace that isn’t healthy; it is unkind and does not build good companies.”

The report sparked conversations online about toxic workplaces and many Nigerians have shared their experiences with impertinent bosses.

Some Bento employees on Twitter commented on work emails that they received at odd hours from Mr. Okubanjo.

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