Interview with Odunayo Eweniyi, Co-founder/COO, PiggyBankNG

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Piggybank.ng is an online savings platform that securely makes saving possible by combining discipline plus flexibility to make you grow your savings to reach their goals and financial aspirations.

The platform securely makes saving possible by combining discipline plus flexibility to make you grow your savings & better manage your finances.

In this interview, Odunayo Eweniyi, the Co-founder and COO of PiggyBank shares her thoughts on the journey so far, securing millions of dollars in funding and plans towards venturing into micro-financing.

How has the journey been?

It’s been extremely fast paced and exciting, although, of course, not without challenges. But we were fortunate that, as a founding team, we know each other extremely well, having met at Covenant University, and we have come together with a wealth of experience and skills that complement each other. In terms of the fundraise experience, whilst we have really had to dig deep and deliver results in order to get us in the best possible position to start fundraising, and we had to curate our vision for the future to excite and attract investors, we were fortunate that we had some super-experience support from the likes of  Olumide Soyombo, Founder of LeadPath Nigeria, who aided us through the entire process, as well as assistance from the likes of Village Capital and Ventures Platform.

With competition from banks, which are constantly looking for cheap deposits, what has piggybank.ng done differently to achieve all it has achieved so far?

We are different from our large banks because we provide transparency and clarity to our users’ finances. There are no hidden or unclear changes, as we’ve created a platform that has trackable transactions and allows us to communicate with our users.

Another way we differ from banks, is that we provide financial discipline as well as promote a savings culture. If you have a savings account with a traditional bank, you’re given an ATM card, withdrawal slip and more; this encourages spending and not saving. We find that a majority of our users have seen an improvement in their attitude towards saving because of the 5% penalty fee they attract if they withdraw their savings outside the agreed date.

With a micro-financing license now secured, what is the big plan for piggybank.ng?

We recently applied for and secured a micro-financing license from the Central Bank of Nigeria [CBN]. As a fintech startup, this is a great stepping stone for us, as the deal provides the regulatory cover we need to operate independently as opposed to partnering with banks. The deal also boosts our credibility and ability to scale efficiently, and effectively.

The platform restricts withdrawals until an agreed date, ensuring availability of funds for a known period. Is there plans to start lending?

Not directly. We recognize that we cannot offer every financial service that our customers need, but we are committed to enabling them to still get those service. We will be partnering with credible loan providers to get our users the best available terms, and our partners in turn can leverage the savings history of these users to benchmark how they lend to our customers.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing startups in Africa?

Each start-up has their own challenge to overcome. Generally, as a rule of thumb, working out how to scale a company, is a challenge most of us have to put considerable time and effort into; and that is even when you have been able to secure investment.

What do you think investors look for in a startup?

Every investor is different; they have different financial goals, as well as different tolerance to risks. We’ve been able to attract investment because we’ve been operating the company for the past two years, essentially bootstrapping, and yet have been able to build a user base of over 53,000 registered users, who have saved in excess of $5M. In our case, investors are not just buying into an idea but a business with a strong track record and with plenty of scope to grow.

 

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