Nigeria’s leading multi-merchant rewards platform ThankUCash has raised $5.3 million in seed funding.
The seed round was co-led by 500 Global and Unicorn Growth Capital with participation from Expert Dojo, Predictive VC, SaaS growth Ventures, Betatron Hong kong, Accelerex Holding, Andrew Dell (former CEO of HSBC), Craig Fenton (Director, Strategy & Operations At Google), among others.
ThankUCash which operates in Nigeria’s 3 major cities – Lagos, Abuja and Port-Harcourt, plans to use the funds to scale operations to other cities across the country and expand to Ghana and Kenya.
What you should know about ThankUCash
ThankUCash, founded in 2018 by Simeon Ononobi, Suraj Supekar, Madonna Ononobi, and Harshal Gandole, provides cashback on purchases and discounts from thousands of merchants, allowing companies to keep customer loyalty, improve income, and expand.
ThankUCash has over 600,000 users and has onboarded over 1,000 stores on its platform, processing over $80 million in transaction volume in just over two years of operation with a team of about 45 employees.
The startup has also signed a partnership with Interswitch to onboard all their merchants and improve their numbers. The startup has Wema Bank and about seven other national and multinational bank partnerships in the pipeline.
According to ThankUCash CEO Simeon Ononobi, the funds will also be used to introduce two new products. “We are expanding our products to remittances in all our markets and a ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ infrastructure to power the industry.”
ThankUCash will offer the technology infrastructure that will connect merchants with credit/loan providers, allowing users to pay for products and services directly through the ThankUCash super App using loans from credit providers.
“The technology is such that we have our machines in stores. So as customers request loans, we generate a code for it, customers input it into the POS machine and the merchant gets credited directly. The code can only be used in the store chosen and only for the loan amount requested, such that at the end of the day the customer is buying straight from the merchants. We’re opening this infrastructure to everybody and want to actually give that platform to loan companies,” he explained.
Ononobi highlighted ThankUCash’s distinctive cash back product, revealing that positive feedback from merchants who are enthusiastic about the product and how it has helped them retain consumers has prompted the team to develop other products for expansion. “Trivets Supermarket in Lekki is one of such merchants. Enyo is another and one of our biggest as they even put our logo on their trucks, and were very excited about what we did for their business. The feedback has encouraged us to do more”.
The ultimate vision for ThankUCash is to create sustainable solutions for SMEs/merchants to succeed while increasing customer buying power.
“At the end of the day, the idea for us is to make sure that all our products are geared towards the survival of the merchants and to redistribute wealth towards Africans,” Ononobi said.
Leading the East African expansion is the highly experienced Aaron Tindiseega. With an exceptional professional background in the African banking and tech industry, he has extensive expertise in building tech startups throughout emerging economies. Aaron formerly worked as the Country Manager for Uber in Uganda, as well as at Standard Chartered Bank and Stanbic IBTC. Kiki Anku, who formerly worked at Apple and has a plethora of startup expertise, will lead the push for the Ghana expansion.
What they are saying
Amit Bhatti, Principal at 500 Global said, “Since going through 500 Global’s accelerator in 2019, we’ve been impressed by Simeon and the TUC team’s progress in implementing a rewards system that works for Nigerian consumers, regardless of cash or credit or online or offline payment. It’s a win-win for businesses and banks too, as TUC gives them the tools and data they need to grow. Now as partnerships have expanded their reach to many more potential users and new markets across Africa, we’re excited to support the continued evolution of the company.”
Barbara Iyayi, Managing Founding Partner, Unicorn Growth Capital, also said. “As consumers make more transactions digitally, we view ThankUCash’s interoperable loyalty rewards and merchant platform as an integral part of the future of Fintech. As a category leader with a large installed base, ThankUCash is well-positioned to transform the financial infrastructure for merchants and consumers, unlocking new opportunities for the digital economy.”