Dealflow | March 25, 2021

Flutterwave backs Lagos fintech Bankly to bring cash-dependent consumers online

Jessica Pothering
ImpactAlpha Editor

Jessica Pothering

ImpactAlpha, March 25 – Fresh off of a $170 million funding round that secured Flutterwave unicorn status, the Nigerian digital payments company is using some of that capital to bring the country’s unbanked consumers online.

Lagos-based Bankly is introducing cash-based consumers to digital finance through a hybrid brick-and-mortar/online financial services business.

Flutterwave led the woman-run company’s seed round alongside Nigeria-based Vault. Plug and Play Ventures, Rising Tide Africa and Chrysalis Capital also participated. 

Bankly relies on a network of 15,000 local agents that run physical cash-in-and-out points that allow customers to deposit and withdraw their money any time. It gradually encourages more online transactions, like buying mobile airtime and making payments.

The company wants to reach two million unbanked Nigerians in the next three years. 

Cash economy

Fintech companies have been vacuuming up venture capital funding and rapidly scaling the pace of digital finance across Africa (see, “Seed-stage is a bright spot as emerging market investors bet on the digital disruption”). The opportunity remains largely untapped. In Nigeria, the continent’s biggest market, cash is still used for 95% of transactions.

“Our goal has always been to reach the last mile using a fast-moving consumer strategy,” said Bankly’s Tomilola Adejana.