Odunayo is the co-founder and COO of PiggyVest.
Odunayo Eweniyi is the co-founder and COO of PiggyVest, a platform that helps individuals and businesses manage their finances by helping them save and invest with ease. PiggyVest is the largest single online savings & investment platform in Nigeria.
Odunayo is an incredibly talented serial entrepreneur. And serial entrepreneur is not an exaggeration: Odunayo has already founded multiple successful companies including PushCV, FirstCheck Africa and Wine and Whine. She has been featured in countless outlets, like The New York Times, Wired, Vogue UK and many more.
In 2013, Odunayo graduated from Covenant University with a degree in Computer Engineering. A few weeks after obtaining her diploma, Odunayo dipped her toes for the first time in the startup scene when she started working at Parolz as an Operation Specialist. In fact, Parolz co-founder Somto Ifezue would become the co-founder of PushCV, her first entrepreneurial venture. What started out as Odunayo helping some friends write their resumes evolved into PushCV, a database and job site connecting verified employers to pre-screened candidates.
Odunayo captured by Stephen Tayo for Wired UK.
PiggyVest started less than three years later, in 2016. As Odunayo explains, the idea for PiggyVest came from a New Year’s tweet she saw: a woman had managed to save ₦ 1000 every day of the year, and placed all the money inside a wooden box. Almost immediately, one of the PiggyVest co-founders, Josh Chibueze, started working on a way to digitize the concept of a “wooden box” where one can put their savings (or rather a piggy bank).
In July of 2020, Odunayo and Damilola Odufuwa formed a group with 11 other women to start a coalition of feminist women with the aim of improving the rights of Nigerian women. The first project the coalition took on was to ensure that all Nigerians who took part in the peaceful protests against SARS had access to food, water, first aid kits, masks, medical aid and legal aid if needed.
I had the immense honor of asking Odunayo a few questions about her entrepreneurial journey...
How did the idea for PiggyVest come about?
Well, the idea for PiggyVest came from a tweet. On the 31st of December 2015, a lady sent a tweet out - it included photos of a wooden box where she’d saved 1,000 Naira everyday for 365 days, then she broke the box and shared that on social media. It went viral, and my co-founder brought it to our group chat and said he thinks there’s a way we could make this whole thing digital. So we went to work. Two weeks later, we had an MVP (Minimum Viable Product), we released it, and that’s how PiggyVest was born.
Odunayo and her co-founders: the talented PiggyVest team.
What were some of the first obstacles you had to overcome?
Well, first of all, it’s a fintech company founded in 2016—a time when digital penetration and trust in digital apps was really low here in Nigeria. So we faced the very huge challenge of gaining customer trust. Then we faced the challenge of fundraising, because people weren’t convinced that the product could compete with the banks. The challenge of gaining consumer trust is ever-evolving, so I can’t say that we’ve completely surmounted that, but more people are trusting us every day. We have about 2.3 million people on the platform now, so that’s a great number, and we have to work hard every day to maintain that trust and also to gain more people’s trust to attract new sign-ups.
The New York Times covered the amazing work Odunayo and the
feminist coalition are doing. Read the full article here.
Although this number has slightly fluctuated, less than 3% of VC funding goes to female founders. How was your experience pitching/seeking investment?
Not so great, but honestly I was still luckier than most. A lot of the problems we encountered came from not-so-straightforward VCs, and extremely restrictive term sheet clauses that we didn't agree with. We fundraised for a year before closing our $1.1m seed round in 2018.
Damilola Odufuwa and Odunayo, founders of the Feminist Coalition, were
recognized by Vogue UK as women leaders changing the world.
What inspired you to start the Feminist Coalition (feminist.co)?
In July 2020, I’d been thinking about what the difference between the people in power — in this case men — was and I was able to realize that the differences crystallized into two things: money and power. All the people at the top of the food chain in Nigeria have both — not one or the other, both. And because of that women are unable to get in positions of freedom and a place where they can start to push for equality as a next step. So I decided that something needed to be done about this and thankfully Dami [co-founder Dami Odufuwa] also had the same idea. So the entire goal of Feminist Coalition is to ensure the representation of women across all stages — getting women who think alike into politics, health and safety of women, and just general drilling down to the centre of issues women are facing and solving it from the inside out.