Nigerian fintech startup AjoMoney is a community financing platform that digitises Africa’s centuries-old rotating savings and credit associations (ROSCAs), making it possible for the 65 per cent of Africans who are either unbanked or underbanked to access zero or low interest credit when they collectively save and invest money.
Founded in 2021 by Ibrahim Adepoju and Chineye Ochem, AjoMoney operates on different platforms for consumers, mobile agents, cooperatives and developers. Consumers can easily manage and facilitate collective savings with friends and family, at home and abroad. Mobile agents earn when they manage and facilitate savings, credit and investment for the unbanked and non-technical consumers.
Cooperatives, meanwhile, easily run their operations digitally on AjoMoney, and developers can integrate rotating savings and credit into their platforms as a value-added solution.
An all-singing, all-dancing platform, then, and one that has seen strong uptake. AjoMoney has so far acquired over 12,000 users, and US$750,000 in gross transaction value (GTV). Adepoju, who is AjoMoney’s CEO, told Disrupt Africa around 80 per cent of its business had been acquired organically.
“Savings, credit and investment are not new in the fintech space. Several startups are successfully operating in this margin, even though the highest percentage put more focus on the banked population. People having access to the internet or a smartphone doesn’t mean that they are banked, many are still underbanked and finding it difficult to access loans from financial institutions to support their business or make early investments. The reason for the zero to little trust from those financial institutions is poor credibility and little to no financial data on many of the underbanked population,” he said.
AjoMoney is primarily a credit platform, which chooses to solve problems around access to credit by leveraging on community-based connections and grassroots recommendations to design a financing ecosystem spanning savings and investments which makes it possible for members of a clan or community to easily build credibility.
“While the modern community and brands promote savings and investment, AjoMoney believes that you do not have to save money for six to 12 months to achieve your target goals, when you can save for three months and get what you need through zero-interest credit via community financing, and continue your savings to pay back. With this, people will achieve a lot and evade the challenges of rapid inflation in Africa,” said Adepoju.
The startup, which raised a seed round led by Tekedia Capital syndicates in April and monetises primarily via commissions and subscription fees, is already planning expansion into other markets. Adepoju said it is currently in stealth mode in Rwanda.
“AjoMoney has been successfully incorporated in Rwanda, and is processing the necessary regulatory requirements to go live publicly,” he said.