We have had an eventful, incredible 2017. It was our first full calendar year, so of course we were looking forward to it, maybe even expecting it to be tough.
But because of our incredible users, we had a great year, accompanied by extraordinary growth. We will be 2 years in a few days, and we will be in full customer appreciation mode, but for now, here are our 2017 highlights!
Selection For The Village Capital Fintech Accelerator
We started 2017 having saved 21 million naira for our users the previous year. And by all indications, that was an amazing feat. But we were hoping to do more.
When the news came that we had been selected for the Village Capital Finch Accelerator, we were quite excited. The program would take place across Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria between January and April.
But there was a catch, at the end of the program, only two startups would walk away with investment money, and it was via a peer selection.
Launching The Safelock Feature
In March, we launched the Safelock feature. SafeLock allows users put an amount of money aside for a fixed period — without having any access to it till that time is up, while earning interest upfront. Think of it like a customized fixed deposit account.
The Safelock was a huge hit. Many users had wanted a feature that would go one step further in curbing the temptation to withdraw.
Today, about 30% of Piggybank deposits are in Safelocks.
Winning The Village Capital Fintech Accelerator Program
In April, after the final workshop of the Village Capital Program, Piggybank.ng and Olivine Technologies were announced as the winners of the accelerator.
It was an incredible feeling, not just to win, but to know that our peers who were selected alongside us in the cohort, rated us highly enough and belived in the company enough to the incredible win. The high still hasn’t worn off, to be honest.
Launching Our Android and iOS Apps; And Piggybank Stories
Our users had been asking for an app from, say, the second month of our operations. But we had to perfect the website and our features first. But finally in June, we pushed our Android app out. And as usual, our users welcomed it with excitement.
That wasn’t all for June, we also figured out that the best way to achieve our goal of helping more and more people save is to have other people tell them about their saving experience on Piggybank. So we launched Piggybank Stories. On Stories, happy savers who Piggybank.ng has helped or is helping save for what truly matters to them share their experiences.
In July we launched our iOS app as well.
Selection For The Google Pitchdrive Tour
In August, we got news that we have been selected as one of the 14 startups from across Africa that had been selected for the Google Pitchdrive tour.
The tour would go across 5 European Countries — London, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and France. And it would last about 3 weeks. And we would get to travel like rock stars in a party bus!!!
Our COO, Odunayo Eweniyi, represented us on the tour, which went across countries visiting with investors and other startups and companies like Google, Facebook, Factory, Booking.com.
We made very useful contacts on the trip!
SME100 and AppsAfrica
We also got nominated for some awards:
- The SME100 Awards for Fintech Contirbutions (Under 25) — Won
- Apps Africa, Best Fintech Solution in Africa — Nominated
- Startups Night, Zurich — Won
Speaking, Panels, Thought Leadership
One of the things we realized this year, is that we had to go out more. Speak more, educate more and just generally make our philosophies on finances and savings known.
Make our product and our company known to more people. Many people have the savings issue, but they had never heard of Piggybank. That had to change.
In the same vein, we were startup founders, we also owed it to the community and people who want to toe that same path to tell our story.
So we did that. Our CMO, Joshua Chibueze gave a TEDx Talk; Our COO, Odunayo Eweniyi, spoke at Startup Weekend; Our CEO, Somtochukwu Ifezue, spoke at SmartMoney events…
Selection For The BlackBox Accelerator Program
In November, we were selected for another international accelerator program: BlackBox.
This time in the United States, Blackbox is one of the most exclusive and prestigious accelerator programs around. It’s so exclusive that there are less than 400 people in the world who can claim to have gone through the program.
We were the first Nigerian startup ever selected into the program.
We met with stakeholders at Google, investors, mentors and even startup lawyers!
“One of our customers had an interview and we got a mention” she’s been saving with us since October 2016.
And these are a few testimonials from over 8,000 testimonials on our stories page:
December was probably our most exciting month! And that’s saying something, seeing how active the rest of the year was.
By December, we had grown by over 30x (3,000%) compared to 2016. And our awesome users saved almost 1 BILLION NAIRA!
Shoutout to Paystack and Flutterwave who handled our payments respectively.
And to cap it all off, we just acquired a significant stake in a fully licensed and functional Nigerian Microfinance Bank to aid our operations and rapid expansion plans in 2018. We’ll give more information about this soon.
Fun Fact: Our total amount of withdrawals done in year 2016 was equal to the amount withdrawn in the first hour of our withdrawal day on Dec 31st, 2017.
Oh and we got a hamper from Flutterwave. Super fancy too :D
This year, our focus is heavily on our customers.
Cheers to an amazing 2018.
Grow financially, have more fun, meet more people and go places this year.
Happy New Year!