Odunayo Eweniyi, the 25-year-old co-founder and chief operating officer of Piggybank.ng, says the idea for the company was gotten from Twitter.
The Computer Engineering graduate shared the story of the company at the launch of Code for Employment Africa, an initiative of the Africa Development Bank which held in Ota on Monday
“When I graduated in 2013 after five years of studying Engineering with an interest in technology but not knowing how it was going to happen. During my stay at Covenant University, I developed an interest in coding and artificial intelligence.
“After graduation, I thought I was going to go for my Masters in AI but unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Right after school, the first thing that happened to me was that I went for a job interview and I was asked to quote a salary and I did. When the offer would come back, the salary they offered was 80% lower than what I expected and so I rejected it.
“From that experience, I started PushCV with some friends. We were linking job seekers; like I was at that time, to employers but we were screening both sides such that people could no longer be taken advantage of.
“Two years into PushCV, we got the idea for Piggybank. You can get ideas from anywhere and it can come from anyone. We were not on Twitter looking for our next company but that was what we found. Today, Piggybank has raised $1.1 million in funding, we have over 250,000 people using the platform and we have saved over $20 million in three years.
“We were on Twitter and someone shared pictures of her kolo, in which she had saved N1000 every day in the calendar year and that was how Piggybank was born.
“The journey was full of self-doubt, your self-esteem takes a lot of hits and the general discomfort about your gender which is something you have no control over. When we started, we wanted to raise funds, people have a bias towards companies run by women.
“The first thing I learnt was that I had to be adaptable, people don’t give you money then use your own, for the first two years of running the company, I had to work a side job whose entire proceeds went into running the start-up.
“You were born a woman, you don’t have any control over that so you have to make the best of it. You don’t have to learn to code to be a successful person in tech; I used to code and then I stopped coding to focus on management.
“Piggyvest is a financial technology platform; I am a Computer Engineering graduate, my co-founders are mechanical engineering and computer science, graduates. We manage the finances ourselves.
“We realised that there was going to be the need for accounting, to learn how to invest in the capital market and a need to maintain profit and loss account. The biggest resource for you outside of school is Google.
“I invest in capital markets because I learnt it from Google, I invest financially because I learnt it from edX, open source technology and you being able to pick up digital skills are going to be key.
“We have had times when we couldn’t pay ourselves, we have had times when we were going to shut down the company but we persevered because it is something that we had a vision of where we were going.
“If you are going to succeed in tech, you are going to have to be an anything person at the beginning. Social media marketing, product management; all of these things are not things that you would expect to be taught directly academically. You need to improve yourself. How fast you learn really determines how far you go, it’s not a matter of who graduated with first class anymore.”
Piggybank, now known as Piggyvest, is an automated savings platform that helps customers invest spare money with promises of higher interest rates than a savings account.