Bankly Closes $2million Seed Round
Bankly, a Nigerian FinTech specializing in serving some 47 million plus unbanked/underbanked Nigerians, has just closed a $2million seed round led by Vault.
Rising Tide Africa, Vault, Plug and Play Ventures, and Chrysalis Capital all made investments in this round evoked by an alignment of interests to enable the financially underserved.
Rising Tide Africa’s key investment focus is investing in early-stage start-ups that are primarily female-owned, female-led or with a gender diverse leadership and management team. Bankly ticked all those boxes, becoming Rising Tide Africa’s 14th investment and 3rd in the African fintech space.
“We are delighted to support Tomilola Adejana, CEO of Bankly, in achieving her ambitious target of growing Bankly’s customer base to 2 million previously unbanked Nigerians over the next 3 years,” said Ms. Yemi Keri, Co-founder/Director of Rising Tide Africa.
Bankly will use the funding to expand its services, grow its customer base and build the partnerships and collaboration needed to deliver its ambitious targets.
Founded in 2018 by Tomilola Adejana and Fredrick Adams, Bankly disrupts the popularly known ‘ajo’ (thrift societies) by digitizing the informal thrift collection system and creating an avenue for inclusion of small-scale traders in the financial ecosystem.
It is estimated that about 56% of the unbanked people in Nigeria are women. Bankly will create a strong link between financial inclusion and gender inclusiveness by providing the opportunity for the unbanked (particularly the women who form the greater share of this group) to gain access to financial services including savings, credit facilities and payment services.
Phase 1 of a 3-step financial inclusion process includes the development of an agent network that bridges the gap between the formal and informal financial ecosystem by granting both offline and online cash-in points. Other solutions include access to loans and overdraft, bill payments, and deposits.
Tomilola Adejana said “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 payments. We call that the three-phase process. The distribution first, then focusing on the consumer, after that full digitization. This is how we reach financial inclusion.”
Bankly aims to expand its current agent network from 15,000 so it can cater to more of Nigeria’s underserved and unbanked people, increasing the percentage of banked Nigerians from 60% to 80%. An estimated 43% of people living in Sub-Saharan Africa (>450 million adults) are financially excluded, which means they lack access to a formal financial system. This presents a huge market opportunity is huge for Bankly and further iterates their commitment to meeting the needs of the financially excluded.