Review and Rating
1.Bird is a digital bank that enables remote workers in Africa open 100% digital, US-based, FDIC-insured checking account. They use this account to receive ACH deposit from US companies ( Airbnb, Fiverr, Upwork, Youtube, Instagram, Tiktok etc) without incurring any additional fees.
PRODUCT: A stablecoin- USDC- enabled digital banking platform — US Checking account & Debit Cards.
2. Key Insights into the Market:
N1. That an average African should be able to enjoy the benefits of crypto (quick funds settlement, minimizing Foreign exchange volatility risk and low cost fee for cross border payment) without the need for them to worry about the complexities of crypto: Savvy Africans, on an individual basis, have already figured out how to send money more efficiently via the crypto rails. Bird is enabling this in an easy, cost-effective way at scale without the need for the less savvy africans to worry about the intricacies of cryptocurrency.
N2. That there is a perfect storm of macro trends occurring right now in Africa that make this the opportune time for a platform like Bird:
a. The rise of the creator economy - Everyone from influencers (through YouTube, TikTok) to more serious professions like writers (through Substack, Medium), podcasters, designers and engineers etc. has increasingly depended on remote work for income, and COVID has accelerated this shift. Most of these remote work platforms payout in Dollars. Remote workers in Africa have resulted to expensive alternatives such as wire transfer and Payoneer to receive payments. With Bird checking accounts, employers or platform companies can make an ACH deposit into remote worker’s Bird account.
b. Continuous local currency depreciation – In Nigeria, for example, excessive money supply is fueling Naira depreciation. In 2020, we saw N400 to 1USD. However, just within 2 years, in 2022, we saw N750 to 1USD- almost 100% from 2020 level. Such depreciation of value against the dollar is driving consumers to look for alternatives. Such alternatives is crypto. Nigeria experienced a major surge in Cryto transaction in the last two years. With Crypto still in its nascent stage with a steep learning curve for many consumers, Bird offers alternative platform for consumers to store value in a more stable form.
c. An accelerating shift to digital payments denominated in dollar. In Africa, Nigeria in particular, mobile data has dropped by 75% in the last 5 years thereby increasing the mobile penetration rate. People and businesses have began to consume, at an accelerating rate, international subscription services such as Netflix, Hulu, AWS, Alixpress, Udemy, Google cloud, Disney Plus whose subscription services are denominated in dollars. Local banks have not been able to keep pace with this shift to support international transaction on local currency cards. The Bird checking account which comes with a USD debit card fills this gap.
d. African financial services are undergoing a structural shift: By 2025, Africa financial services could grow by 10% annually reaching about $230 billion in revenue. With a rapid increase in urbanization, expansion in network coverage and a supportive regulatory framework, Africa is poised to see an exponential growth similar to that of more mature markets such as India and Indonesia. Such growth rate provides a perfect tail wind for Bird to carve out a share of the market.
N3. Why this team:
We intimately understand the market and we have the social and cultural understanding of the market to make our payment solution work
Expertise: The fintech space is highly regulated and the learning curve is very steep. We have combined experience in the fintech and telecommunications space that helps us shorten this learning curve. For example,
I was a technical analyst at Credit Suisse for 6 years. Charles has over a decade of experience working within regulatory and compliance for one of the largest banks in Africa. Maro has about 5 years experience building banking applications for UBA, one of the largest banks in Africa. So we have the technical, financial and the operational skill-set to bring this solution the market
Relationship: The team has a very close knit relationship. I have known Charles since I was 11 years old. He was my roommate in boarding school. Charles was Maro’s boss when Charles hired Maro at United Bank of Africa, one of the largest banks in Africa.
Here are reasons why you should take a chance on the Bird founders:
1. We are builders: Bird is not my first venture. In 2017, I founded a solar technology startup, and in 2020, we received an acquisition offer pending on the approval of our patent. My co-founder and CTO, Maro, builds robotics systems for fun and the other co-founder Charles architected the security framework for the one of largest banks in Africa.
2. Speed. We learn quickly and iterate fast. We started coding the 2nd week of June 2022 and by the first week of August 2022 we onboarded our first customers.
3. Capital Efficiency: We have been capital efficient and achieved our results thus far from $77k capital, and $37k of which came from outside capital.
4. Mission: We are building Bird to become the largest international digital for Africans, no matter where they live. In time we will leverage the transaction history and user income data that we have accumulated on the platform to offer adjacent products such as credit, insurance and taxes personalized to our user's needs. We believe that during this process, we would have unlocked global opportunities for millions of Africans and transform their financial lives. THIS IS OUR MISSION. We hope that join and enable us to pursue and fulfill this mission
N4. 500K SAFE on $6m Valuation. Common Stock