Odunayo Eweniyi is the co-founder of Piggybank.ng.
Odunayo saw the need for Nigerians and Africans, in general, to save a part of their income for them to afford necessities. She believes in the discipline of spending and is willing to inculcate a good spending culture in Nigerians through Piggybank.
Piggybank combines essential attributes of security, transparency and discipline while offering services to its clients. This has seen the company fanbase skyrocket to over 70,000 registered users.
Among the three founders of Piggybank.ng, we spoke to Odunayo who let us into how the Piggybank idea became a reality, and how they are working together to see further growth.
Who is Odunayo Eweniyi?
Odunayo Eweniyi is the co-founder and COO of Piggybank.ng. I hold a first class degree in Computer Engineering from Covenant University. I’ve been in the tech industry since right after university, and my co-founders and I build startups to help improve Nigeria, starting with PushCV and eventually Piggybank.
Briefly tell us about your company and the services/products it offers.
Piggybank.ng is an online savings platform that enables savers to put away funds that they don’t want to withdraw easily.
They can save as little as $1 a day and then restrict when they withdraw their savings to specific set dates they choose. Unlike a regular bank’s savings account, where you can access the money at any time, Piggybank.ng helps its users maintain their savings discipline while building 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.
What inspired this innovation?
It all started with a tweet. In 2015, a Twitter user shared a picture of her saving box and shared how she saved ₦365,000 by putting aside ₦1,000 every day. The conversation then progressed in automating this Piggybank concept, as the original concept requires a substantial amount of discipline and doesn’t guarantee security. And that’s how Piggybank.ng was born – out of the cons list of a wooden box.
We are a team of three co-founders: myself, Somto Ifezue and Joshua Chibueze, who met originally at Covenant University, Nigeria. We have worked together for almost eight years now on different startups and businesses, and in 2016, we came together again to tackle the huge issue of savings in Nigeria.
Maintaining discipline in savings was a problem that we as individuals had, and we later realised that we were not alone. The majority of Nigerians, in fact, Africans, need to save a minimum of 40% of their monthly income, to survive and to pay for even the basics such as housing, access to health care and school fees. Piggybank was built to tackle this huge and underserved market.
What challenges have you gone through since starting up?
As a fintech startup operating in Nigeria, gaining the trust of our prospective users became a challenge that we had to overcome. Coming in as “new kids on the block,” we had to convince people to give Piggybank.ng a try without proof that the platform works and is secure.
Because we have proven to be credible and trustworthy by providing transparency and clarity to our users’ finances, we have garnered over 53,000 registered users who are willing to share their Piggybank.ng experience with our referral program –Piggybank Stories.
Where in the future are banks with the arrival of Piggybank?
Collaborative. We are interested in sitting with the banks to figure out how we can offer the best services to the users. We are very keen to work with established institutions to offer the best services to our users.
We partner with many banks and even microfinance banks to onboard Piggybankers. And the platform is bank agnostic, so really, customers from any bank can save with us. The partnerships have worked well so far, and we are fortunate to have such dynamic, strategic partners.
It’s important to note that we are not looking to replace the banking infrastructure, not at all. We are an additional service provider that delivers a complementary product to banks so that they can give their customers added value.
How is the company funded?
For the first two years, we bootstrapped, using our savings and small amounts of angel investment.
We are now fortunate to have attracted $1.1M in seed funding from predominantly local investors led by Olumide Soyombo, Founder of LeadPath Nigeria, Village Capital and Ventures Platform.
Do you think fintech will create a disruptive impact in the future?
Yes, definitely. Technology is the future. Application of it in any industry can be described as disruptive.
You have generated a sum of $1.1M from a group of Nigerian investors, how did you go about it?
Every investor is different; they have different financial goals, as well as different tolerance to risks. We have been able to attract investment because we have been operating the company for the past two years, essentially bootstrapping, and yet have been able to build a user base of over 70,000 registered users, who have saved more than $8M.
In our case, investors did not just buy into an idea but a business with a strong track record and with plenty of scopes to grow.
As a company, what are your achievements to date?
We have seen 20 – 35% MoM growth in user traction over the past 18 months – primarily from peer-to-peer recommendations.
Of our 70,000 registered users, approximately 60% are Nigerian millennials, who have saved more than $8M; we recorded a savings growth of 3000% between 2016-17. In 2016, our first year of operations, we only saved 21 million nairas.
What more opportunities do Piggybank offer regarding developing a truly single digital financial services market?
A recent survey we conducted, which saw 5,000+ responses, revealed that the top 5 areas Nigerians are saving for include investments, starting a business, rent and unforeseen circumstances, e.g. health and vacations.
So that’s what we’ll help them achieve. We will 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.
Are there companies competing with you at the moment?
What sets us apart from our competitors is the fact that we provide clarity and transparency to our user’s finances; there are no hidden charges, as the Piggybank platform enables users to track their transactions.
Another way we differentiate from our competitors, who are predominantly banks, is that we provide financial discipline. When opening a savings account with a bank, customers are typically given ATM cards, withdrawal slips and more; this encourages spending.
Our platform restricts withdrawal until an agreed date and drawings outside of the agreed day attracts a 5% early withdrawal fee. This encourages the user to think twice and evaluate whether their early withdrawal is a necessity, which in most cases, it is not.
What are your plans for the company?
We recognise that we cannot offer every financial service that meets the needs of our users. However, we are committed to ensuring that they have access to these services.
We will look to partner with credible fintech service providers, such as the lending and insurance sector, to ensure that our customers get the best available terms.
We also want to scale across the country; so far, we have over 70,000 users – we want to see our numbers grow very quickly now.
What is your advice for other start-ups and aspiring entrepreneurs?
My advice is never to let your idea die. It would be an absolute shame to see someone execute an idea you once had, all because you didn’t follow through.
If an entrepreneur is looking to launch a business, I’d say their first point of contact should be family and friends. If that’s not feasible, I’d suggest putting aside some money until you reach your target.
We have users who are saving to start or invest in a business; although challenging, there are ways to go about it.
To get more of Piggybank, connect with them on Instagram.
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