NIGERIA – Herconomy, a community-based startup that empowers women through financial services, capacity building, jobs, and networking, has raised US$600,000 in a pre-seed round to extend their platform’s product offerings.

Members of the Herconomy community, venture capital firm Oui Capital, and a slew of angel investors led the pre-seed round.

The investors included Nkiru Ayemere, CEO of Zephans & Co; Ehi Onwudiwe, Director of Business Transformation at Ernst & Young; Ope Makinwa, Head of Reserve at Diageo; Ama Akpata, co-founder of Jand2Gidi, and a slew of others.

The startup intends to introduce its community members to financial services that it believes will be beneficial to them.

It has organized various saving challenges over the years, managing at least 500 women who have saved a total of US$100,000. Herconomy intends to create a savings solutions with its new funding, where members can earn high interest.

According to Ife Durosinmi-Etti, the company received commitments for US$5.7 million from 509 community members within 24 hours of the round starting, but only accepted what it needed to scale — US$600,000.

“I pitched the idea of Herconomy to several investors but we didn’t get any yeses at first,” Durosinmi-Etti said.

The game-changer for them was getting selected for the Startup Bootcamp Accelerator program. During the program, they fine-tuned their business model, got advisors on the program.

“I quickly figured that many female-led startups do not get funding easily, so I decided to create a table for herself,” Durosinmi-Etti said.

Ife Durosinmi-Etti founded the Herconomy group in June 2018 after community members were interested in her book, “Accessing Grants for Startups.”

The group became known as AGS Tribe, and it provides women with global access to a variety of opportunities.

The team at the startup then followed up with the launch of a new app to broaden their horizons.

“Our thesis is that community is very key to the future of consumer fintech in Africa,” Olu Oyinsan, Managing Partner of Oui Capital said.

“The company has a very strong community element, and also focuses on creating financial products and prosperity for women- who have historically been underserved with financial services. We like the company very much and are happy to be on this journey with the team.”

Herconomy currently boasts a community of over 15,000 people, with 20% of them being paid members.

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