A recently developed Nigerian fintech start-up publicly declares it’s successful ability to raise over a $1.1M seed Fundraise to kick start its online savings platform popularly known as Piggybank.ng.With a powerful combination of business-minded people like Somto Ifezue, Odunayo Eweniyi and Joshua Chibueze Piggybank.ng came to. They came up with a way of tackling a problem endemic to Nigeria, and across Africa; Savings. The basic reason for such an idea is because of 80% of Nigerians – and most probably all Africans – need to save at least 40% of their monthly income to survive and pay for everyday expenses.
However in a society such as Nigeria, with no credit system to speak of, the vast majority of payments are made in cash and savings, inevitably, slip away.
To start with, Piggybank.ng concept and product are simple and straight forward. Customers can deposit any amount irrespective of the amount deposited into their online Piggybank.ng account and will not have access to it until the agreed specified date. But some situation occurs whereby customers become impatient and want to have immediate access then they will be fined 5% early withdrawal fees whilst all the time accruing around 6% interest per annum on automated savings.
In addition, Piggybank.ng aids its clients to achieve a certain level of discipline and self-control when it comes to spending money and thereby assisting their savings culture as they save towards something big. Piggybankers can earn on average 6% per annum on automated savings or 10.95% per annum on the fixed deposit product, Safelock and can withdraw funds for free once per quarter.
Furthermore, Piggybank.ng seems to show more interest in the youths of this generation for whom going online via mobile phones for daily transactions is second nature and currently, they make up to 60% of the company’s registered customers. Having recorded fluctuating savings growth of 3000% between 2016-2017, the Piggybank.ng made profits over the years and saved over $5M. During this process, the company commanded the recognition of a group of Nigerian stockholders led by the likes of Olumide Soyombo, Co-founder of Leadpath which in turn helped the company.
How has the user base been improved? Much hasn’t been invested in above-the-line marketing, rather the growth can be attributed almost entirely through peer-to-peer recommendations; verbal endorsement from trusted people within your wider network is a super-powerful mode of marketing. The clients are the main influencers, the advocates, the brand and once they begin to feel comfortable with the simplicity and transparency of your services, they see medium-long term results in their savings accounts and then a level of trust is accorded to such syndicate. Then they are obliged to tell their friends and family about the company.
Also, a unique referral program was initiated, Piggybank Stories, whereby clients are appreciated when they create more awareness and share their stories. Once a Piggybanker’s story has been sent in and confirmed, they receive a unique link that they can share with friends, family, colleagues or on any social media platforms.
Rewards can then be earned as the new user who uses the link engages with Piggybank. Apparently, It is stated that Africans are storytellers so using that as an advantage to build the user base, which saw a 3000% savings growth between 2016-2017 and 20-35% m-o-m growth in user traction over the past 12 months.
How does Piggybank.ng generate revenue for the company? The revenues are generated through asset management and currently, it is stated that the revenue margins stand at 4 – 7%. Monthly, clients save, and a portion is invested in that float and ploughed back most of the interest gained back to our clients. Our users earn an average of 6% per annum on automated savings or 10.95% per annum on the fixed deposit product, Safelock, which is higher than the average interests around.
How will this investment be used?
A micro-financing licence was recently requested for and approved from the Central Bank of Nigeria [CBN], which was a long-term investment for us. Job opportunities are also being created in different sectors like marketing, product and tech departments as they continue to expand their user base.
Unlike other recent funding rounds, where start-ups have looked outside of Nigeria for VC investment, Piggybank.ng has raised $1.1M from almost exclusively Nigerian investors – what does this say about the market? Conclusively, Piggybank.ng is highly ecstatic to have the support of the local Nigerian investment community and they believe that the engagement with the local investors enables wider opportunities for other business-minded persons who often nurse ideas that some individuals will have to travel abroad for greener pastures. Similar business partners of Piggybank.ng often travel across the continent or head to the US or to Europe to raise a similar Seed Round. Piggybank.ng endeavoured to keep a close relationship with a number of different stakeholders through the fundraising process to refine their services and most importantly to attract more clients.
There is wealth in Nigeria, and so much of it is channelled towards infrastructure, agriculture, real estate, petrochemicals and so forth, but Piggybank.ng has been neglected and have seen very little [in real terms] from the local institutional investment into the tech ecosystem and it has been a problem for the company. So Piggybank.ng is tremendously grateful for Olumide Soyombo of Leadpath, for the opportunity in granting them connections us with the local investors’ network.