Nigeria’s fintech startup Bankly, has revealed that it has raised the sum of $2 million in a seed funding round. The fintech startup was founded by Tomilola Adejana and Fredrick Adams and went live in July of 2019.
Bankly is all about digitalizing cash for the unbanked. In fact one of its core aims is to digitalize the informal thrift collections systems that is currently the order of the day in the country. The idea of Bankly therefore revolves around the traditional thrift collections system which is popularly referred to as ajo, esusu or adashe in Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa languages respectively.
Bankly’s seed funding round was led by investors like Vault, Plug and Play Ventures, Chrysalis Capital, Rising Tide Africa and Flutterwave (this is the first time Flutterwave’s investment in another company is being revealed). Bankly’s financial services are designed purposely for people in the non-formal sector like small-scale traders who routinely save and get loans from their credit associations. Bankly seeks to fill the gap that the traditional thrift system cannot by bringing the processes up to a digital level.
One of the greatest disadvantages that a startup such as Bankly would be faced with as it seeks on taking on the thrift collection space is creating a network of trust, ensuring that deposits are secure and that there are collectors who can reach every nook and cranny of the target area. This is why over the past months, Bankly has taken the time and effort to create its own agent network around the country; this will bring the startup closer to the people that it aims to bank, while also building trust in them and making them realize the benefits that Bankly plans on handing to them.
Reports have it that Bankly has over 15,000 agents nationwide and plans to build its customer base to 2 million in the space of three years. This is totally achievable with the funds that the startup was able to raise.
The agent network is the first step in Bankly’s ‘three-phase process’ of achieving financial inclusion through digitalization, according to the fintech startup’s CEO- Adejana, who went on to say that, ‘Just in the same way mobile inclusion happened, you need to then focus on acquiring customers who, after transferring cash to their mobile accounts, use it to buy airtime or make payment’.