Three Fintechs Driving Financial Inclusion in Nigeria

A report earlier this year from PwC highlighted the “changing competitive landscape” for fintech and banking in Nigeria. For those looking to learn more about both the growing impact of technology in financial services in one of the major countries in Africa, as well as the challenge created by COVID-19, PwC’s review provides an comprehensive overview.

The report also concludes with nine recommendations the analysts believe would encourage continued growth in Nigeria’s fintech ecosystem. These recommendations range from making it easier to invest in fintech companies to encouraging partnerships and “strengthen(ing) the synergy between banks and FinTech players” in a mutually beneficial way.

Financial inclusion is a huge part of both the challenge of – and the opportunity for – fintech in Nigeria. The report notes that more than 30 million adult Nigerians do not have or use either formal or informal financial services products or solutions. This represents more than a third of the country’s adult population. And while the report points out that mobile money operators have been among the businesses to help bring more financial services to the underbanked, there are some fintechs that have taken up the cause of financial inclusion, as well. A trio of these companies are highlighted below:

Bankly is a cash digitization and savings platform that caters to Nigeria’s unbanked. The company provides a digital wallet that is secure, convenient, and accessible, and all users require in order to open an account is a phone number. Bankly leverages more than 2,000 agents across 29 of the country’s 36 states to scale the company’s offering.

In operation for just over a year, Bankly has already picked up recognition from the 2019 Innovating Justice Awards sponsored by the Hague Institute for the Innovation of Law. The company has also participated in the GreenHouse Capital accelerator program. Tomilola Adejana (CEO) and Fredrick Adams are co-founders.

Covr Branchless offers banks, insurance companies, and government agencies a suite of applications that enable them to leverage cloud, GPS, and mobile channels to conduct a wide variety of financial processes. Account opening, instant debit card linking, cash withdrawals, fund transfer, billpay, KYC validation and loan origination are among the operations enabled by Covr’s technology.

Covr is owned by Advancio Interactive, a Nigerian technology company focused on sustainable financial access that was founded by Olufisayo Oludare (Managing Director). Covr won Advancio first place at the Startup Istanbul Challenge in the fall of 2017, only the second Africa-based startup to do so.

FairMoney is a online micro lender that provides instant loans from N1,500 to N500,000 (approximately $4 to $1,300), with average loans of about N12,000 ($33-$35). Using the company’s Android mobile app, prospective borrowers apply for financing by answering a few questions and providing some basic financial information. The app analyzes this information – as well as the borrowers geolocation and other factors – to make a loan offer in a matter of minutes.

But what makes the company especially interesting is the fact that it is working to launch a challenger bank. FairMoney raised $11 million in Series A funding last fall for this purpose and plans to expand its offerings to include current and savings accounts.

Here is our weekly look at fintech around the world.

Central and Southern Asia

  • Reserve Bank of India (RBI) encourages government to incentivize the use of QR code transactions and promotes the adoption of open, interoperable standards.
  • Amazon to offer car and motorcycle insurance in India courtesy of partnership with Acko General Insurance.
  • National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) facilitates recurring payments with its new UPI AutoPay feature.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Brazil’s Central Bank reverses course to authorize payments system involving WhatsApp.
  • Payscout teams up with Brazilian fintech Rede Celer to grow its payments business in the country.
  • Partnership between FacePhi and Naranja X will help bring biometric recognition technology to digital onboarding processes for firms in Argentina.


  • Finovate: Ant Group’s Double IPO Listing Shuns U.S. Exchanges.
  • Trulioo brings its GlobalGateway identity verification technology to customers in Vietnam.
  • Crowdfund Insider takes a look at the impact of COVID-19 on fintech lending platforms in Indonesia.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Telco Orange and bancassurance company NSIA team up to launch Orange Bank Africa to serve underbanked communities in Abidjan and Cote d’Ivoire.
  • Vodacom partners with Ant Financial Services Group to bring Alipay services to South Africa.
  • Uganda-based digital cross-border money transfer startup Eversend raises $1 million via an oversubscribed Seeders crowdfunding campaign.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Germany’s Scalable Capital lands $460 million valuation with new $58 million funding round.
  • Russian bank Tinkoff unveils new functionalities for its financial and lifestyle services voice assistant Oleg.
  • EstateGuru, a P2P lending platform based in Estonia, launches a new payment service in partnership with Lemonway.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Oman’s BankDhofar extends partnership with Diebold Nixdorf to improve the customer experience of its ATM network. Bank Nizwa, also based in Oman, announced an extension of its digital payments partnership with Mastercard.
  • Turkey-based online payments platform Mobilexpress secures $2 million in Series A funding.
  • Spotii, an e-commerce technology provider based in the UAE, unveils new deferred payment option.

Photo by Tope A. Asokere from Pexels

Scalable Capital Lands $460 Million Valuation with New $58 Million Funding Round

Scalable Capital landed $58 million (€50 million) for its roboadvisory platform this week. The new funds come courtesy of BlackRock, HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, and Tengelmann Ventures.

Today’s round brings Scalable Capital’s total funding to $133 million (€116 million) and boosts the Germany-based company’s valuation to $460 million. Scalable Capital will use the investment to grow in the wealth management and brokerage spaces, and invest in the B2B side of its business.

“In times of COVID-19, our funding round is a powerful signal; it shows that our focused, digital business model is convincing the investors,” said company Co-founder and Co-CEO, Erik Podzuweit. “We will use the additional capital to expand our position as the market leader in digital wealth management and to reach new customer segments with the broker.”

With 80,000 customers across Germany, Austria, the U.K., and Switzerland, Scalable Capital has $2 billion in assets under management. The company offers personalized, fully managed investment portfolios.

Using its risk management technology, Scalable Capital’s B2C offering aims to make investing accessible for everyone by charging simple, transparent fees.

“We established Scalable Capital to make investing easier and better through technology,” said Scalable Capital Co-founder and Co-CEO Florian Prucker. “Not only has our B2C business grown strongly over the last few years, but Scalable Capital’s technology is also used by more and more B2B partners; most recently we launched our partnership with Barclays. With this funding round, we also want to expand our team of currently 130 employees in order to drive our expansion and the further development of our platform.”

The company’s flagship offering is a B2B approach that brings its roboadvisory technology to help banks offer their clients a different flavor of investing. Scalable Capital recently added three additional partners to its roster and now boasts partnerships with firms including Barclays, Gerd Kommer Capital, Raiffeisen Banking Group Austria, ING Deutschland, Siemens Private Finance, Openbank, Targobank, Oskar, and Baader Bank, and others.

Photo by Maarten Wijnants on Unsplash

Partnership with Scalable Capital Drives New Roboadvisory Service from Barclays

Whether you believe our climbing stock markets around the world are a result of massive, coronavirus-fighting monetary and fiscal stimulus, or merely Millennials easing into their family formation years, there’s no doubting the demand for solutions that help investors maximize the opportunities of advancing markets.

This makes the news that Barclays has launched a new digital wealth management service – Barclays Plan and Invest – all the more timely. It also makes the fact that they’ve partnered with Finovate alum Scalable Capital to launch the new service all the more interesting.

“Over the last few months, we’ve seen a rise in the number of people wanting to invest for the first time and it feels more important than ever that we give people the right tools and advice to plan for their financial future,” Dirk Klee, CEO of Wealth Management and Investments at Barclays explained.

“We launched Plan & Invest after listening to our customers, who said they wanted an investment service that gave them the convenience and affordability of robo-advice, but with more of the personalization of Wealth Management.”

Barclays will pilot the new roboadvisory service with current account customers that have at least £5,000 to invest. The solution will be accessible via Online Banking, and features dedicated customer support via telephone. Barclays said that it will add to the service over the balance of the year, including adding it to the Barclays app this summer.

Customers will be able to set up their own personalized investment plans using Barclays Plan & Invest for free. They will be charged an annual fee of between 1.39% and 1.59% once accounts are established and funded; the actual amount of the annual fee is based on the value of the customer’s investments, and is divided between service and product costs.

Founded in 2014 and making its Finovate debut two years later at FinovateEurope, Scalable Capital specializes in leveraging technology to make sophisticated investment management accessible to the average investor. Headquartered in Munich, Germany, and in London, U.K., the company offers investors access to globally diversified, cost-efficient, ETF portfolios based on their individual risk preferences and investment goals.

Among the largest roboadvisors in Europe, Scalable Capital serves more than 60,000 customers and manages more than £2 billion for its clients. The company has raised €66 million in funding, and includes BlackRock, HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, and Monk’s Hill Ventures, among its investors.

Finovate Alumni News


Around the web

  • Nice Actimize introduces surveillance system, SURVEIL-X.
  • Scalable Capital teams up with Raisin to offer its customers the ability to invest in fixed-term deposits at partner Baader Bank.
  • Standard and Premium customers of Revolut in 26 markets now have access to stock trading via the platform.
  • Financial Times highlights Meniga as a fintech to watch. Come see Meniga’s live demo at FinovateFall next week in New York!
  • NYMBUS appoints Dr. Joerg Richter as its new Chief Operating Officer, Platforms. NYMBUS will showcase its newest technology at FinovateFall next week in New York!
  • Tradeshift to help Spendency app users leverage their transaction data.
  • iProov releases HTML v.2 Beta on GitHub to help users secure user identity in HTML5.
  • Onfido earns the top spot in FinTechCity’s 2019 Fintech 50 roster.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Scalable Capital Raises $28M

Munich-based robo-advisor platform, Scalable Capital, has raised a further €25 million in growth capital, two years after BlackRock invested €30 million, writes Jane Connolly of Fintech Futures (Finovate’s sister publication).

Handelsblatt reports that HV Holtzbrinck Ventures and Tengelmann Ventures also took part in this round.

Founded in 2016, Scalable aims to target high-earning young professionals, who invest an average of €35,000. Customers can answer a list of questions about their experiences and objectives, to receive a recommendation for a portfolio of listed index funds (ETFs).

Although the amount raised is relatively low for the industry, Scalable Capital founder Erik Podzuweit said, in the Handelsblatt Disrupt podcast: “Actually, we did not need the money, because unlike some other business models, each customer pays for the offer.”

He added: “So we took the money and can now grow a little faster and at the same time still keep something in reserve.”

BlackRock acquired just under a third of the company two years ago. Despite the capital increase, the founders still have ownership of more than a quarter of the business.

Scalable Capital demonstrated its technology at FinovateEurope 2016. Last month, the company teamed up with Futurae to add multi-factor authentication to its investment platform. This spring, the company was named to the Wealthtech 100.

Finovate Alumni News


  • Scalable Capital Raises $28 Million.
  • Finicity Launches Student Loan Account Verification.

Around the web

  • Splitit announces partnership with music software provider Ableton.
  • Jack Henry reports partnerships with 57 community financial institutions in fiscal 2019.
  • Western Union deploys customer journey optimization solution, Nexidia, from Nice Systems.
  • Venmo launches instant transfers to bank accounts.
  • Quadient unveils new archived document and data retrieval solution.
  • Euromoney features BioCatch in its look at the fintech scene in Israel.
  • SuperMoney tops $2 billion in loan requests via its online lending marketplace platform.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Finovate Alumni News


  • Content Capture Innovator Ephesoft Allies with Grant Thornton.
  • Gusto Raises $200 Million with $3.8 Billion Valuation.

Around the web

  • TD Ameritrade offers voice-activated investing technology.
  • NIIT Technologies’ revenue grew 16+% YoY, and its after-tax profit increased 2% YoY.
  • Scalable Capital partners with Futurae to add multi-factor authentication technology into its investment platform.
  • LoanScorecard goes live with its Bank Statement Analyzer tool.
  • Betterment adds savings and checking accounts to its offerings.
  • U.K. neobank revverbank to deploy cloud banking technology from Finastra.
  • CardFlight partners with PAX Technology to make SwipeSimple terminal available to clients on the PAX A920 and PAX A80.
  • Australia’s Volt Bank teams up with FIS to power its mobile and card payment services.
  • Alterna Bank unveils its new advanced digital platform, Forge, powered by Backbase.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Finovate Alumni News


  • The ID Co. Unveils its Income Verification Solution.
  • Finicity Partners with Pulte Mortgage to Accelerate Asset Verification.

Around the web

  • CBANC hires Mike Snavely as Chief Commercial Officer.
  • Congrats to 3rd Eyes, ArthaYantra, aixigo, BaseVenture, Capitalise, Entersekt, eToro, Finantix, Fincite, Finhorizon, ForwardLane, Hydrogen, Scalable Capital, Sentifi, Tradeit, Trizic, WealthWizards, WealthForge, and Xignite on being recognized in the Wealthtech 100.
    • Xero’s new invoicing experience available for all Xero customers and partners over the next two weeks
    • Nordigen opens new office in Spain to expand operations.
    • Yseop’s AI solution for Société Générale wins award for most innovative initiative of the year at this year’s Digital Finance Awards. Come see Yseop at FinovateSpring next month.
    • Contovista and NDGIT expand partnership, enabling Contovista to be implemented via the German NDGIT API marketplace.

    This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

    Scalable Capital Launches in Switzerland

    Scalable Capital is saying, “Gruetzi mittenand” to Switzerland today.  The U.K.-based robo advisor has launched its services in Switzerland, the fourth country to which Scalable Capital has expanded, following launches in U.K., Germany, and Austria.

    Describing Switzerland as “an interesting market for every wealth manager,” Scalable Capital Co-founder Simon Miller said that the company made the move knowing it could offer real value to Swiss retail investors. Miller added, “We are the only independent robo-advisor in Europe using three key building blocks to build a truly customer-centric product: professional risk management for every individual portfolio, low cost, and a comprehensive digital service with unparalleled transparency.”

    With a Swiss customer phone hotline, as well as a website aimed specifically to serve Swiss customers, the startup has an E.U.-wide approval and can offer its services across the E.U. without having to go through additional application processes. Scalable Capital’s German custodian bank partner, Baader Bank AG, will provide tax reporting and will serve as the custodian bank for all Swiss customers, managing their portfolios in euros.

    Scalable Capital was founded in 2014 and now serves more than 20,000 clients with $810 million (£600 million) assets under management. The company holds partnerships with BlackRock, Siemens Private Finance, and Germany’s third-largest retail bank, ING-DiBa.

    Scalable Capital most recently presented at FinovateEurope 2016. The company has 70 employees and has raised $49 million. Last spring, Scalable Capital was the only European startup to be recognized on CNBC’s Upstart 25 list.

    Finovate Alumni News

    On the web

    • Scalable Capital Launches in Switzerland.
    • Gusto Partners with Accounting Platform Aplos.
    • Alfa-Bank Collaborates with HashCash to Bring Domestic Payments to the Blockchain.
    • Powering Single-Sign On for VFW’s Digital Platforms

    Around the web

    • ACI Worldwide announces its UP Merchant Payments solution now available as a cloud-based service.
    • Truphone, Featurespace and PayStand win spots on The Silicon Review’s 50 Smartest Companies list for 2017.
    • Bank Info Security features Nick Armstrong, CEO and founder of identitii.
    • Walmart Labs veteran Adnan Habib joins Roostify as VP of Engineering.
    • Realty Mogul appoints interim Chief Investment Officer Chris Fraley as its official CIO.
    • Klarna extends its partnership with ACI Worldwide.

    This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

    Finovate Alumni News

    Around the web

    • ACI Worldwide supports cross-border e-commerce in Brazil with integration of payment processor and gateway, PagBrasil.
    • Revolut is the latest fintech to apply for a European banking license.
    • Fenergo teams up with Opus to improve integration of risk-relevant information in the KYC process.
    • KAMCO Investment Company chooses Fusion Invest from Finastra to accelerate growth.
    • Bluefin Payment Systems unveils PCI P2PE sub-listing option for users of its Decryptions as a Service (DaaS) offering, Decryptx.
    • Ping Identity adds support for companies seeking PSD2, open banking compliance.
    • Trustly tops €10 billion in total payment processing volume since inception.
    • Q2 Holdings named to Deloitte Technology Fast 500 for second consecutive year.
    • Stratumn completes a blockchain experimentation connecting 14 insurance companies in France.
    • nCino debuts in top half of Deloitte’s 2017 Technology Fast 500.
    • Scalable Capital hits €500 million in assets.
    • disrupts class action payments.
    • Compass Plus assists Almazergienbank to support the issuing and acquiring of JCB cards.
    • NetGuardians and Swisscom launch fraud prevention service.

    This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

    Finovate Alumni News


    • Ledger Partners with Intel to Boost Blockchain App Security.
    • BioCatch to Power Behavioral Biometrics for Samsung SDS America.
    • Clinc Teams with Enacomm to Bring AI Chatbots to Small Banks and Credit Unions.
    • Powers Facebook Messenger’s First, Fully-Featured, AI-Powered, Virtual Banking Assistant.

    Around the web

    • PayPal launches PayPal for Marketplaces
    • Forbes: Banks Wanted To Sink Kantox— Now They’re Vying For Its Technology
    • Zumigo’s  Zumigo Assure now prevents payment fraud even when card numbers are compromised.
    • SecureKey collaborates with Intel to enable consumers to access its blockchain-based digital identity technology via traditional web browsers.
    • Finicity launches online platform that allows lenders to order, manage and monitor digital verification reports.
    • DAVO’s Sales Tax App, now available in the Square App Marketplace.
    • D3 Banking partners with P2P payments network, Zelle.
    • Behavioral biometric technology from BioCatch to be integrated into Samsung’s Nexsign platform.
    • Top Image Systems introduces its eFLOW AP solution for SAP.
    • Zafin offers its miRevenue platform as a cloud-based SaaS solution.
    • Scalable Capital provides BlackRock employees with streamlined access to its investment management services.

    This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.