Writer Emily McDaid and the team at Catalyst Inc’s TechWatch blog recently won Best Business and Tech Blog at the DANI Awards. We enjoy how Emily gets in among Northern Ireland’s digital leaders – and future leaders – whatever the industry, to bring the latest developments to the fore.
Here she interviewed Belfast-based FinTech startup PiggyPot, an instant savings app:
“For too long, dubious financial products have made it too easy for anyone to get into dangerous levels of debt.
Meanwhile, saving has remained the preserve of banks with little incentive to innovate,” said CEO and co-founder, Gavin Shields.
PiggyPot is trying to fix this.
The app makes it easy for anyone to set up and contribute into a savings account – in less than 60 seconds.
“If you want to save up for something like a new mobile phone, your summer holidays or even your car insurance, PiggyPot is an easy, quick and safe way to do it,” said Gavin.
What’s required to set up a PiggyPot account?
“Users download the iOS app, decide how much they want to save, when they want it, and whether to deposit weekly or monthly. Once they’ve connected their debit card, everything is automated.”
“Users can withdraw for free at any time, or even set up as many pots as they like.”
PiggyPot doesn’t hold user’s savings itself, “for trust and security reasons.” Rather, savings are held in e-wallets by an authorised financial institution, for extra peace of mind.
What are the main benefits?
“First, it makes it simple to budget, say if you want to put away £20 per week to save for a summer holiday. Secondly, we reward users for saving, through our large and increasing retailer partnerships. So if you reach your goal of £350 and you’ve indicated that you’re saving up for a PlayStation 4, we’ll work hard to show you where to get it for the best price, and maybe even offer deals through the app.”
Is that like a modern day layaway?
“It combines the flexibility of a bank savings account – withdraw whenever you like, have full control over your funds; with the benefits of layaway – helping you set aside regular amounts of money each week or month.”
Where do you indicate what you’re saving for?
“During pot set up you can tell us what you’re saving for, or you can choose nothing. Users can save for anything, but they can also opt to earn bonuses and discounts with specific retailers.”
With 10,000 users across the UK in 2016, what are PiggyPot’s growth plans?
“Right now, we’re focusing on making the saving experience as simple and rewarding as possible.
Growing our user base isn’t really a big focus yet, although word of mouth has already seen PiggyPot grow pretty rapidly. I’d expect us to hit the 100,000 user mark during 2017.”
What is your user profile?
“We have a pretty even split of male and female users, mostly aged about 18-35.” said Gavin.
What sort of marketing strategy have you used to meet this level of success already?
“We’ve reached number 39 in the UK’s top 50 finance apps. Small amounts of strategic paid advertising via Facebook and Instagram helped get the word out.”
What is your personal background? Is this your first startup?
“No, I previously started a video games company in London. Prior to that, I was an investor at $15 billion US private equity firm, Summit Partners.”
Find out more about the latest developments in the Northern Ireland FinTech industry and beyond at Digital DNA 2017 coming this June 6-7 to St George’s Market Belfast. Get your pass now!