Bankly, a Nigerian fintech startup digitizing cash for the unbanked, announced that it has closed a $2 million seed round.
The funding round was led by Vault. Other investors who took part in the round include Plug and Play Ventures, Rising Tide Africa, and Chrysalis Capital.
Bankly was founded in 2018 by Tomilola Adejana and Fredrick Adams and one of its objectives is the digitization of the informal thrift collections system common in Nigeria and popularly known as esusu or ajo.
Nigerians have patronised the thrift banking system for many years and although there are many variations of the practice, the daily payment of specific amounts to thrift collectors as savings, mostly by traders and artisans, is the most notable.
It is interesting to note that although the system is popular among the unbanked populations, it is also embraced and patronised by many people who use regular bank services. This is in defiance to the well-known drawbacks that beset the system, the most important of which is the loss of a contributor’s savings when the thrift collector dies, absconds or blatantly embezzles the funds in his/her care. There is also the problem of proper recordkeeping since records are mostly manually kept.
Bankly is helping unbanked populations by digitizing the entire money collection process and allowing users to save their money using online and offline methods. The business has a distribution and agents network that makes it easy for customers to deposit and withdraw cash with its agent, anytime.
What they are saying
Idris Alubankudi Saliu, partner at Vault said, “Given our over twenty years experience in Nigeria’s fintech industry and previous exits, we strongly believe that Bankly understands the nuanced needs of this market — not to mention the team, strategy, and technology — to succeed in bringing affordable financial services to the unbanked. We are delighted to participate in this financing round as Bankly moves into its next growth stage.”
“We’re thrilled to have closed this milestone fundraise and to have such seasoned fintech investors who understand the market join us on this journey to banking Nigeria’s unbanked. Now we have built the agent network and are poised to serve customers directly via offline and online channels. Partnerships, collaboration, and a deep understanding of the needs of the unbanked will be vital to our success,” Tomilola Adejana, CEO of Bankly said.