REACH, a Nigerian online savings app built to help people save up for their big life moments, has crossed 1,000 users, and launched out of beta, becoming the first savings tool of its kind in Africa’s most populous country and biggest economy.
Now available as a free download on the Google Play and iTunes Stores REACH aims to reignite saving in Nigeria by creating simple and intuitive tools that empower communities to manage and grow their money.
Influenced by traditional concepts and powered by smart technology, REACH has closed on a small seed round of investment from private Nigerian and US investors to expand the sales teams to develop more vendor partnerships, and reach more users.
Built in partnership with Zenith Bank, REACH has been in beta since July 2016 and has since signed up over 1k users, and signed up deals with stores such as CityDia supermarkets in Lekki and Surulere, FlyBoku.com among others.
Designed and built in Lagos by a small team, REACH was founded by JR Kanu, a former Konga employee and alum of Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. Victoria Araromi, also a Stanford alum, serves as its COO.
The app works simply by allowing users to type how much they need to save, and by when the amount should be complete. The app will generate the daily, weekly or monthly amount that needs to be deducted. Users can cancel their savings plans at any time and a full transfer of funds will be made, without any financial penalties. The funds are kept in a Zenith account. They are not traded or otherwise used. This is simply a layaway account that’s NDIC insured and monitored by a third party.
Still in line with minding user security, REACH users are limited to inviting 12 friends. This helps to keep the community deliberate and private. And much like is the principle in Ajo and other traditional savings schemes, it ensures that one’s community is invite-only.
Finance is a more communal activity than is commonly thought. In Nigeria alone, 26 million adults (~70%) have saved in a group. Globally, the figure reaches over 800 million. However, as mass urbanization has hit parts of Nigeria, Susu and community lending have waned.