by Fintechnews Africa
16 January 2024
On December 20, 2023, Peace Itimi, the host of Founders Connect, a YouTube show that interviews up-and-coming entrepreneurs in the African startup landscape, premiered a new documentary spotlighting the Nigerian tech ecosystem.
The documentary, titled “Innovating Africa: The Rise of Tech in Nigeria”, delves into the evolution of the ecosystem over the past 15 years, featuring key insights from prominent industry players including Oo Nwoye, Kola Aina, Odun Eweniyi, Adia Sowho, Tomi Davies, Jason Njoku, and Iyin Aboyeji. It explores the rapid ascent of Nigeria’s tech ecosystem, showcasing its growth and highlighting the most pivotal moments and policies that have defined tech in Nigeria.
Kola Aina, General Partner at Ventures Platform Fund, emphasized how tech startups are becoming mainstream across the country and how these players are impacting various sectors by promoting financial inclusion as well as activism.
“The technology startup ecosystem is now starting to become mainstream across the country and across the continent and you can see that in a number of ways. Every time a politician is giving a speech and they want to highlight signs of hope, technology companies get called and their founders,” Aina said during his interview for the documentary.
Financial Inclusion in Nigeria: Moniepoint, Kudi, Crowdforce
“Financial inclusion is another thing to highlight. There’s been tremendous improvements in access to financial services and a lot of this progress has been driven by fintechs, whether they be the agency banks like TeamApt [now Moniepoint], or Kudi or Crowdforce or the several many others that we have,” he said.
Aina continued: “This ecosystem is … making an impact on the country and the continent and not just in the areas I’ve mentioned. You’re also seeing how this ecosystem is becoming a force to reckon with when it comes to activism and even holding the government accountable.”
The documentary also features insight shared by tech executives on their favorite tech products from Nigeria. Sandra Israel-Ovirih, head of product management at Korapay, highlighted Paystack for its role in helping businesses set up online stores effortlessly.
Top Nigerian Fintech Product: Paystack
Paystack is a Nigerian fintech company founded in 2015 that offers payment processing services to businesses. The company, which has a presence in Ghana, South Africa, Kenya, Dubai and the US in addition to its home country, claims more than 200,000 business customers. It was acquired by Stripe in 2020.
Yanmo Omorogbe, co-founder and COO of Nigerian investment platform Bamboo; Alexander Onukwue, a Nigerian reporter for Semafor; and Adedeji Olowe, founder and CEO of lending-as-a-service solution provider Lendsqr, all echoed Israel-Ovirih’s sentiment, emphasizing Paystack’s the significance in the Nigerian and African tech landscape and highlighting the platform’s simplified payment integration, support for a variety of payment options and focus on security and reliability.
“If I try to pay for something and I see Paystack, it always fills me with confidence that the payment is going to go through without issues,” Onukwue said.
Top Nigerian Fintech Product: PiggyVest
Jason Njoku, founder of entertainment tech company Iroko Partners, praised PiggyVest for the platform’s intuitivity and simplicity in making savings easy and effective. “My favorite tech product of all is PiggyVest,” Njoku said. “The amazing thing about it is the fact that it makes savings really simple and allows me to save to a certain target.”
Elizabeth Ekong, a marketing specialist and former content marketing manager at PayDay, mirrored Njoku’s feelings, stating during her interview: “You can’t talk about savings in Nigeria without mentioning PiggyVest.”
PiggyVest is an online platform that simplifies savings and investments for Nigerians of all ages. Founded in 2016, the startup offers a savings platform where users can securely save money. Users can also invest their savings in PiggyVest’s investment options, allowing them to earn returns on their funds.
Josh Chibueze, a co-founder and CMO of Piggyvest, told TechCabal in August 2023 that PiggyVest served 4.5 million customers, up from 53,000 in 2018. At the time, the startup had paid out a total of NGN 1.1 trillion (US$1.42 billion) to its customers.
Eloho Omame, co-founder and general partner at FirstCheck Africa, a female-first pre-seed fund investing in tech-led ventures, expressed confidence in Piggyvest, foreseeing unicorn potential due to the startup’s clear focus on millennials and Gen Zs.
Top Nigerian Fintech Product: Bamboo
Another fintech startup highlighted by Nigerian tech execs is Bamboo, an online brokerage service. Habib Olawale, founder of booming Nigerian sock brand Smiley Socks, and Nathanael Disu, an investment research analyst for Afrinvest West Africa, praised Bamboo for simplifying foreign investments in Nigeria and emphasized the role of fintech apps in lowering barriers to entry for investors.
Founded in 2019, Bamboo is an investment platform designed to provide individuals with access to smarter investment options and the opportunity to earn returns. The platform focuses on making investing a simple, accessible, and affordable experience.
Bamboo offers two primary investment avenues: the US stock market, and a fixed-income dollar-denominated investment that gives Nigerian investors up to 8% annual returns. The startup claims more than 50,000 active investors from the US and Ghana, as well as 750,000+ unique trades executed by April 2021.
Top Nigerian Fintech Product: Rise, Migo, Nestcoin
Other fintech startups spotlighted by Nigerian tech executives include Rise, a digital dollar asset manager providing Nigerians with access to foreign investments; Migo, an embedded lending platform that enables companies to extend credit to consumers and small businesses in their own apps; Moniepoint, digital payment leader; and Nestcoin, a startup that builds, operates and invests in crypto-native products.
Nigeria currently stands as the leading hub for fintech innovation in Africa. The country boasts the largest market share of fintech startups, constituting 32% of all fintech companies on the continent with 217 ventures, data from a 2023 report by Disrupt Africa show.
Nigeria also assumes a market-leading position when it comes to fintech funding, securing 41.6% of the US$3.6 billion raised by African fintech ventures over the last decade.
Featured image credit: edited from Unsplash