Meet Joshua Chibueze, The Wiz behind Nigeria’s Biggest Savings and Investment Platform
Joshua Chibueze, Co-founder PiggyVest is a techpreneur whose passion for idea execution and consistency numbered him among the brains behind Nigeria’s biggest savings and investment platform.
Joshua is a known product marketing and digital strategy consultant. He boasts over 10 years of industry experience working for multinationals, SMEs, and across several startups. With a team of intelligent buddies, Joshua rose from the unknown to the known in the fintech space. He co-founded a savings platform, whose aim was “to give everyone the power to better manage and grow their own finances.”
The savings platform later grew into an investment platform with over 25% ROI to users as well as 10% – 15.5% interest on savings. PiggyVest, Nigeria’s biggest saving and investment Platform currently has over 350,000 users, who save and invest billions of Naira every month.
How it all started?
Joshua and his six friends started building startups in 2011 at Covenant University, Ogun state, Nigeria. Before graduation, they had some startups that failed and others that succeeded. They built a social network, built applications and bank integrations for an oil company, and designed a few Uber-like models. They also tried connecting chefs, freelancers, and cleaners, with people who needed their services. But most of them didn’t scale, except PushCV, a job site that has a large database of pre-screened candidates. The platform was doing well and generating money for them at the time.
In December 2015, Joshua and his friends saw a viral tweet of someone who saved ₦1,000 every day in a kolo(piggy bank) that year. The tweep shared pictures of her savings after she broke the box on the last day of the year. When they saw the tweet, the team decided to innovatively build a digital product that can help individuals save daily, weekly or monthly with some interest in returns.
His friends, Somto Ifezue, Odunayo Eweniyi, Ayo Akinola, Ibukun Akinola, Terry Kanu, and Nonso Chinagorom started work on the idea. Somto, who is CEO and co-founder, built the MVP in 3 days. Their experience in building startups made it easy for them to have the first iteration of the product ready by the 3rd of January.
The beginning days of Piggy Vest
PiggyVest did not immediately start generating money for Joshua and his team. Joshua who serves as Chief Marketing Officer for the team focused on understanding the product, its customers and the product experience. On the other hand, Odunayo focused on managing the reactions of customers to the product from social media. Joshua and his team prioritised the needs of customers and were able to return users’ funds when they requested. This feat helped them build trust in the Nigerian market which has a catalogue of failed savings and investment platforms. By the end of 2016, Joshua and his team helped users save N21 Million.
PiggyVest watershed moments
In 2017, the techpreneurs struck a partnership with a commercial bank. Their partnership gave them the opportunity to learn about finance, markets, banks, payments and government securities. This partnership also increase their user base, because a lot of users who couldn’t trust the product, became more interested in it. They also got involved in accelerator programs like Village Capital, Blackbox, Pitch drive and Google Launchpad Africa. These platforms help sharpened their knowledge of the product.
Moving to 2018, they raised $1.1 million in seed funding from Nigerian investors. They kept on growing, introducing new features like the Safelock feature for people who wanted to save without having access to the money for any reason, and Target savings for customers who needed multiple savings plans.
Challenges they encountered
Joshua and his team struggled with identifying the right investors for the product. This was because their target was smart money. After searching, they found angel investors, Mr Olumide Soyombo, Ventures platform and Village Capital, who became their formidable backbone.
Another challenge they encountered was managing the expectations of customers. This was because they had to work hard to gain and retain customers’ trust.
Joshua and the co-founders of PiggyVest have been named in Forbes Africa’s 30 Under 30 list for Technology (2019). They’ve also won The Future Awards Africa (TFAA) Prize In Technology 2018 and have been named in Business Day‘s Top 100 SMEs list.
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