Costa Rica-based OMNi started as a modest platform with 1,000 bicycle shares in the country, but is now the dominant and uncontested super app. It continues to bring modern digital technology and payments expertise to existing businesses and has seen exponential growth as it targets innovation. Jason Simon, an expert in FinTech and innovation, discusses how OMNi has revolutionized Costa Rica and will continue to be at the forefront of country development.
After the Costa Rican government shut down bike-sharing for three months due to health concerns, OMNi began exploring new endeavors, focusing on digitalization and the benefits it can provide. It started its expansion with an entertainment platform, offering around 150 live music sessions that enjoyed substantial success. The shows received almost five million views, and a lot of people engaged with the company as a result.
“The ability to think outside the box and keep a flexible business model is what separates OMNi from other companies and has allowed it to grow its platform,” explains Simon. “It has expanded from bicycles to taxis, and then to news-and-lifestyle information. OMNi has continued to branch out, adding banking, financial services and even healthcare to become a prominent company in the region.”
OMNi has achieved its rapid growth because it listens to its increasingly large user base and responds to the needs and concerns of consumers. With the benefit and unique market view that comes with operating five verticals, OMNi’s super app has been able to do things that standalone businesses can’t. It has embraced a concept of giving people all the connections they need directly through their phones, allowing it to compete with other companies in different verticals, but is the only one that is able to address all of the verticals at once.
OMNi stated, “Costa Rica possesses the human talent with the necessary knowledge to develop and export technology. After having studied the case of Southeast Asia and how they managed to gradually put together the concept of the super app as a distinctive element and economic growth that resulted, we created the first super app in the Costa Rica region. However, the great difference is that OMNi was conceived, prototyped and released as a super app from its inception.”
“Since late last year, we have worked on a process of continuous improvement and strengthening of our FinTech services. For example, payments through QR code in shops, P2P and QR transfers and payment of services are now a common convenience for OMNi super app users. Also, in November 2020, OMNi debuted as an incubator for technology projects in the region, thanks to the $10 million investment made in Ingo, an e-commerce platform. Finally, in April 2021 we launched the service to offer cryptocurrency transactions.”
OMNi recently launched a pilot with bus companies in Costa Rica to digitize their fleets, targeting another vertical. Explains Simon, “Around 1.8 million people use buses every day in the country and, across all of Central America, that figure is around 50 million. This is an important market that OMNi has tapped into and no one is able to respond to the consumer demands the way the company does.”
OMNi is also offering bill pay, funds transfer, group discounts and even lending. Its Super App incorporates an artificial intelligence solution that is able to grant a loan in 45 minutes with no in-person interaction. The ultimate goal, and one it has achieved time and again, is to make different consumer-driven activities better and easier to use.