Nigeria is the continent’s largest economy in Gross Domestic Product and population, yet still maintains a high population of people who are financially excluded. The raise was led by Vault, Plug and Play Ventures, Chrysalis Capital, and Rising Tide Africa.
Nigerian fintech Bankly, a startup digitizing cash for the unbanked has raised $2 million in a seed round. The startup founded by Fredrick Adams and Tomilola Adejana went live in 2019 with the intent of digitizing cash services on its online and offline platforms. Bankly aims to fully digitize the informal “esusu” money collection system.
With no adequate banking system available, many Nigerians resort to traditional systems that involve working offline completely. This helps in collating and saving cash through a thrift collection system. Bankly runs like the conventional bank but has fewer assets, customers, revenues, and operational costs. It currently boasts an extensive agent network of over 15,000 agents countrywide. The new capital infusion will go towards further expanding its agent network and increasing the customer base to 35,000.
Bankly is popular in cash-based communities and aims to solve the challenge of group savings. To tackle some of its operational challenges such as proximity to the main collector, Bankly has invested in an agent network in the past 18 months to close the access gap and increase confidence among potential users.
The CEO points this out as a first step in the three-phase process aimed at achieving financial inclusion through digitization. The startup has over 15,000 agents currently and hopes to build a customer base of 2 million people over the next three years.