Emma Okonji

Nigeria’s Piggybank.ng, an online and mobile app savings platform targeted at African millennials, has announced that it recently closed a deal on seed funding to the tune of $1.1 million from High Net Worth Individuals, led by the Founder of LeadPath Nigeria, Olumide Soyombo, and with participation from International and Pan-African investors Village Capital and Ventures Platform.

The company said that it will deploy the investment for license acquisition and product development. Piggybank.ng has recorded 20 – 35 per cent month-on-month growth in user traction over the past 12 months; primarily from peer-to-peer recommendations, its referral program – Piggybank Stories, and grass-roots social media campaigns.

The startup will also invest in additional marketing spend, to accelerate its growth trajectory. Having completed accelerator programmes with Blackbox, the CcHub’s Pitch Drive, powered by Google for Entrepreneurs, and Google Launchpad Africa, Piggybank.ng has built a savings community of over 53,000 registered users of which approximately 60 per cent are Nigerian millennials, who have saved in excess of $5 million, with a savings growth of 3000 per cent between 2016 and 2017.

Founded in 2016 by Somto Ifezue, Odunayo Eweniyi and Joshua Chibueze, graduates of Covenant University, Nigeria, Piggybank.ng is positioned to fill a void for tens of millions of Nigerians, who have no access to credit, in a country where up to two years’ rent is often required upfront to secure a home. Targeting low-middle income savers in Nigeria, which has a population of 26.5 million, with a market size of $2.2 billion, the FinTech start-up is an automated savings platform where savers manage their finances by depositing small amounts of money, beginning from $1/day on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, depending on their saving target, free of charge. Savers can expect to earn on average 6 per cent per annum on automated savings or 10.95 per cent per annum on the fixed deposit product, Safelock and can withdraw funds once per quarter. Piggybank.ng generates its revenues through asset management, which currently stands at between 5 – 7 per cent.

Co-founder and COO of Piggybank.ng, Odunayo Eweniyi, said: “In a country such as Nigeria, almost everything has to be paid in advance. The majority of Nigerians struggle to save their income, manage cash flow and build credit, which is a huge problem as around 80 per cent of Nigerians need to save a minimum of 40% of their monthly income, in order to survive. This is the sheer scale of the challenge we are embracing; to actively promote a savings culture in Nigeria and act as the savings infrastructure to millions of people who want a safe, transparent and innovative platform to assist them in managing their finances, on their journeys to financial freedom.”

Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Piggybank, Joshua Chibueze, said: “Today’s announcement allows us to expand and capitalise on the many opportunities that the market presents us with. Our growth so far has been stimulated almost entirely by peer-to-peer advocacy and our investment in the highest quality customer service, so we know the market is there, and the product has been built, modified, tested and ratified by users. With this fundraise, we can invest significantly in our people and products, as we build a digital financial warehouse accessible to millions of Africans whose savings woes we want to put firmly behind them.”

According to Soyombo, “Piggybank.ng is a leading example of how Africans are innovating to solve African problems. The team is applying technology and innovation to solve a problem facing millions of Nigerians; how can they accrue enough money to make down-payments on so many ‘life events’, in a market where there’s little to no access to credit.