New piggy bank app is bringing home the bacon

8 Feb 2017

The PiggyPot team. Image: TechWatch

Is the porcelain piggy bank just not cutting it for you? Emily McDaid talks to Gavin Shields, the CEO of a new savings company called PiggyPot.

PiggyPot is a Belfast-based fintech start-up with 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 add to 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 Shields.

What is your personal background? Is this your first start-up?

No, I previously started a video games company in London. Prior to that, I was an investor at $15bn US private equity firm Summit Partners.

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 users’ savings itself for trust and security reasons. Rather, savings are held in e-wallets by an authorised financial institution, for extra peace of mind.

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.

Gavin Shields

CEO and co-founder of PiggyPot, Gavin Shields. Image: TechWatch

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.

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.

What is your user profile?

We have a pretty even split of male and female users, mostly aged about 18-35.

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.

With 10,000 current users across the UK, 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.

By Emily McDaid, editor, TechWatch

A version of this article originally appeared on TechWatch

TechWatch by Catalyst covered tech developments in Northern Ireland