ThankUcash, a platform launched by Connected Analytics in 2018, has finally closed a $5.3 million funding round following an undisclosed seven figure seed last year.
The seed round was co-led by VC firms 500 Global and Unicorn Growth Capital in Lagos. Expert Dojo, Predictive VC, SaaS Growth Ventures, Betatron Venture Group, and Accelerex Holdings were among those who took part. Individual investors included Andrew Dell, former CEO of HSBC Africa, and Craig Fenton of Google U.K.
The investment will be used to expand within Nigeria, where the company has offices in Lagos, Port Harcourt, and Abuja, as well as in Ghana and Kenya. It also intends to expand its product offerings and hire more people.
ThankUCash was founded by CEO Simeon Ononobi and Suraj Supekar, Madonna Ononobi, and Harshal Gandole, who serve as chief technical officer, chief operating officer, and senior vice president of engineering, respectively.
Customers can earn rewards by shopping at any of the thousands of merchants listed on the app’s multi-merchant rewards platform (which means they can hop from one merchant to another to earn loyalty points).
After attracting the attention of accelerators such as 500 Startups, Google Launchpad, and other local investors such as Microtraction and Ventures Platform, the company raised a $320,000 pre-seed round.
ThankUCash claims to have over 600,000 users and over 1,000 stores on its platform as of this writing. It also claims to have processed more than $80 million in transaction volume.
“We are developing solutions to assist SMEs in succeeding while increasing consumer purchasing power and opportunities.” “We want to build an infrastructure for rewards, loyalty, deals, buy now, pay later, and cash back,” he told TechCrunch during a phone interview.
“Cash back was our low-hanging fruit and a point of entry. We’ll continue to offer deals, coupons, gift cards, buy now, pay later, and anything else that will help the business grow while also increasing the consumer’s purchasing options.”
Ononobi, a serial entrepreneur who previously founded a payments company as well as apps for Nigerian banks and the government, believes ThankUCash will do for rewards what Flutterwave and Paystack have done for payments in Africa.
Some companies such as banks have launched cashback programs via debit cards to users in the past. But most of them have been generally inefficient, from setup down to collections and redeeming of points, and Ononobi argues that their inefficiencies boil down to no technical support.
ThankUCash sees a gold mine to provide plugins banks and fintechs can tap into to offer cashback and rewards. The bit about buy now, pay later is fuzzy now since there are only a handful of prominent BNPL services in Africa.
However, the company seems to be positioning itself for the imminent proliferation of such services buoyed by similar happenings globally where buy now, pay later services have seen an uptake as a result of pandemic-induced consumer behaviour.
The CEO does not provide any information about this product. Meanwhile, its investors, who have doubled down as a result of this information, are ecstatic about “the continued evolution of the company,” according to Amit Bhatti, principal at co-lead investor 500 Global.
“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, credit, online, or offline payment,” the principal said. “It’s a win-win situation for businesses and banks alike, as ThankUCash provides them with the tools and data they need to grow.”
Aaron Tindiseega, a 45-man team, has been hired to lead the company’s expansion into Kenya and the rest of East Africa. The Ugandan is