Nigerian startup Donate-ng is seeing strong revenue growth as uptake of its donation-based crowdfunding platform increases.
Founded in 2015, Donate-ng connects charities, non-profits and individuals seeking financial assistance with willing donors.
“A lot of Nigerians are in search of social goods, charitable campaigns and non-profit campaigns that they can donate to without the challenge of a direct involvement or undergoing a KYC process,” Oluwasegun Olojo-Kosoko, the startup’s co-founder and chief operating officer (COO), told Disrupt Africa.
Donate-ng helps with this, and has seen strong traction. Charging fees on donations, its revenues have grown annually, and donations made through its platform so far passed the US$140,000 mark back in April.
“Since we launched, our revenues have increased year-on-year. For example, in 2018, we almost doubled our 2017 revenue, and we are hoping for the same this year, based on our forecast,” said Olojo-Kosoko.
The startup came about when Olojo-Kosoko’s fellow co-founder Ayodele Amusa noticed that Nigerians often struggled to raise funds for just causes. Olojo-Kosoko shared the sentiment, and the pair carried out market research that birthed the idea for Donate-ng.
“Before Donate-ng, almost every fundraising campaign for Nigerians in Nigeria always ended up on crowdfunding portals like GoFundMe and Kickstarter. If not any of these crowdfunding portals, they were raised directly into peoples’ accounts, who either absconded or do not fully remit the funds raised,” he said.
“Also, we noticed, charity and non-profit organisation struggle to secure funding for their operations. The only answer to that was an alternative way of funding – crowdfunding.”
The platform was quite a job to develop, and the founders’ first port of call was Sola Akinlade, now-CEO of fintech startup Paystack, who recommended Kunle Olayinka for the job. Olayinka has since joined as co-founder.
Olojo-Kosoko and Amusa are the ones that have funded the project thus far, however, to the tune of US$15,000, and Donate-ng is currently seeking external investment to grow. It has done quite nicely while bootstrapped, though.
“I guess we are learning the ropes as we progress. Initially it was being able to convince the public that crowdfunding can work in Nigeria, and that we are secure and can be trusted. We believe that is a thing of the past now,” said Olojo-Kosoko.
For now, Donate-ng operates only in Nigeria, but that may change soon.
“Yes, there are plans for expansion,” Olojo-Kosoko said. “However, that will not come until we are confident we have proven and mastered the Nigerian market.”