Bankly, a Nigerian fintech company digitizing cash for the unbanked, has raised a $2 million seed round. The round was led by Vault with participation from Plug and Play Ventures, Rising Tide Africa and Chrysalis Capital.

With the fundraise, Bankly looks to increase its 35,000 customer base in cash dependent communities. To achieve this, the company plans to grow the number of its physical “cash in” points by expanding its 15,000 person agent network and plugging its API into partner networks. Bankly will also develop direct-to-consumer (DTC) products for its customer base that will be available through its app and USSD channels.

Over the next three years, Bankly aims to grow its customer base to 2 million unbanked Nigerians, supporting the aims of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s National Financial Inclusion Strategy.

“We’re thrilled to have closed this milestone fundraise and to have such seasoned fintech investors who understand the market join us on this journey to bank Nigeria’s unbanked. Our goal has always been to reach the last mile using a fast-moving consumer strategy.

Now we have built the agent network and are poised to serve customers directly via offline and online channels. Partnerships, collaboration, and a deep understanding of the needs of the unbanked will be vital to our success,” said Tomilola Adejana, CEO and Co-founder of Bankly.

“Given our over 20 years experience in Nigeria’s fintech industry and previous exits, we strongly believe that Bankly understands the nuanced needs of this market - not to mention the team, strategy, and technology — to succeed in bringing affordable financial services to the unbanked. We are delighted to participate in this financing round as Bankly moves into its next growth stage,” said Idris Alubankudi Saliu, Partner, Vault.

Bankly is a fintech company looking to put a bank in the pocket of Nigeria’s 36m unbanked adults. Bankly is digitizing the informal ‘thrift collections’ system (known as ajo, esusu and adashe) that is widely used among Nigerians working in the informal sector. Although the ajo system is popular because it works completely offline, it has inherent security risks, limited access, and a lack of customer data.

Bankly allows ajo participants to save their money using both online and offline methods. Customers can deposit and withdraw cash with a Bankly agent or make payments using its app or USSD function.

Bankly onboards every customer, accompanying them to full financial inclusion. With its insights into customer behavior and transactions, Bankly provides “data-as-a-service” to other service providers to offer tailored products and services to Nigeria’s informal sector.