ThankUCash, a Nigerian rewards platform, has secured a $5.3 million seed round to expand its services across Africa and to build the infrastructure for cash, deals and Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL).
The investment was co-led by 500 Global and Unicorn Growth Capital. The round was joined by Expert Dojo, Predictive VC, SaaS Growth Ventures, Betatron Venture Group, Accelerex Holdings. Individual investors like Andrew Dell, former CEO of HSBC, and Craig Fenton of Google UK also took part.
Founded in 2018 by Simeon Ononobi (CEO), Suraj Supekar, Madonna Ononobi, and Harshal Gandole, ThankUCash is a technology company powering rewards and loyalty for African banks and businesses. ThankUCash helps merchants grow revenue by connecting them to customers within and outside of their locations while retaining acquired customers using a data analytics-powered reward system where customers earn cash rewards for every transaction made both offline and online.
The company plans to use the investment to expand within its home market Nigeria — where it operates in Lagos, Port Harcourt, and Abuja — and outside to Ghana and Kenya. It also wants to improve its product offerings and add more staff.
To facilitate its expansion into Kenya and Ghana, the ThankUCash team has hired Aaron Tindiseega to lead its expansion into Kenya and the eastern Africa region, and for Ghana, it has appointed Kiki Anku.
According to the startup, it claims to have recorded over 600,000 users and onboarded over 1,000 stores on its platform. Also, it claims to have processed over $80 million in transaction volume.
In terms of how ThankUCash makes money, merchants pay the company a fee on every purchase made in their stores.
For instance, ThankUCash gets a 1.5% commission for every customer it brings into the store to redeem a 5% cashback item. The Lagos-based company also takes commissions for deals and plans to charge a “heavy onboarding fee” for businesses that want to use its APIs for its services, including buy now, pay later.
Commenting, Ononobi said: “We are creating solutions that help SMEs succeed while increasing consumer buying power and opportunities. We want to build an infrastructure for rewards, loyalty, deals, buy now, pay later, cashback.
“Cashback was our low hanging fruit and an entry point. We’re still going to go into deals, couponing, gift cards, buy now, pay later, anything that will help the business grow, but at the same time, allowing the consumer increase in opportunities of buying.”
Ononobi adds: “The technology is such that we have our machines in stores. So as customers request loans, we generate a code for it, customers input it into the POS machine and the merchant gets credited directly. The code can only be used in the store chosen and only for the loan amount requested, such that at the end of the day the customer is buying straight from the merchants.”
“Since going through 500 Global’s accelerator in 2019, we’ve been impressed by Simeon and the ThankUCash team’s progress in implementing a rewards system that works for Nigerian consumers, regardless of cash or credit or online or offline payment. It’s a win-win for businesses and banks, too, as TUC gives them the tools and data they need to grow”, said Amit Bhatti, the principal at 500 Global.