Modern technology is not only making things easier, it is practically changing the way we live – from e-transportation, ecommerce to e-banking – operational processes have never been smoother.
Cashbox, a digital savings platform, is making life even better with its app that helps Nigerians cultivate a healthy savings habit and curb excessive spending.
Founded by Sydney Aigbogun nearly two years ago, with about 20,000 users shortly after launch, the platform now boasts of over 100,000 users and with about N1 billion already saved via the platform in 2020 – amid the economic woes occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In this interview with the Business Elites Africa team, Aigbogun said Cashbox was bootstrapped from inception till date, and now opening its doors to local and international investors to accelerate the company’s growth.
Q: How did Cashbox start?
A: I was already running another business before Cashbox and our customers in that business often asked ‘do you guys offer some form of savings deposit?’ and a number of my friends who did the local ‘Ajo’ (savings contribution among a select group) all had bad stories. It’s either one person collects his own money and stops saving. There is always friction among those who do it.
This got me thinking, since my background is in finance. But we did not want to do it the normal way people have been doing it. We just wanted something you could have access to and control on your own – so we decided to use technology to run it. I met with my CTO (Chief Technology Officer) and that was how we just kick-started Cashbox.
Q: How does it really work?
A: Everything is done from your smartphone and the computer – we have a web app and we have the mobile app as well. The moment you sign up you just input your basic information – your full name, email address and phone number. You then add your bank card and create a plan. So once you create a plan it’s automated, we start to debit your bank account daily, weekly or monthly depending on the frequency you choose and the set amount chosen as well.
However, for users who don’t have bank cards, they can decide to save using our bank transfer feature. Cashbox will generate a unique bank account number for you and you can transfer into that from any Nigerian bank.
Q: You know Nigerians have trust issues, especially with traditional banks that often debit customers arbitrarily. Are there charges on Cashbox transactions?
A: Cashbox is not a bank. Before we launched that was our fear, that would people trust us to save with us since we are not a bank. We are a Fintech company. But in our first week of launch, we had about 500 sign-ups. I was expecting maybe about 20 or 50 – maybe from family and friends – but that wasn’t the case. Family and friends who signed up in our first week were not more than 10 or 15. The rest of the sign-ups were just people who heard about us on social media, online adverts, referrals and all that. So on Cashbox, we don’t have any hidden charges. We don’t charge customers anything. Using our app is free, saving is free. If you save N100, N100 is what you get. I saw some people recently on Twitter saying only in Nigerian bank you’ll save N5000 and when you check your balance you see N4900+. On Cashbox, N5000 is N5000 and at the end of the month, we pay interest on your savings. We pay between 7 to 15 percent interest annually on the savings balance of a customer, which is calculated daily.
Q: How did you get funding?
A: We have been bootstrapping since inception. At the idea generation stage, we thought of raising funds but we did not want to use investors’ funds to test the market. We wanted to test the market with our funds and see how well it works. Now that we have a product that is working and we have the numbers already, we are seeking funds now. We have several investors, locally and internationally, already showing interest.
Read the rest of the interview in the latest edition of our magazine here: Find it on pages 32&33.