Deal To Watch: Borderless, Blockchain-Enabled Mobile Banking

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Pngme has been selected as a “Deal To Watch” by KingsCrowd. This distinction is reserved for deals selected into the top 10%-20% of our deal diligence funnel. If you have questions regarding our deal diligence and selection methodology, please reach out to


“Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are one of the strongest drivers of economic development, innovation and employment.” These small institutions often cite access to finance as a critical barrier to growth.  Specifically, “131 million or 41% of formal MSMEs in developing countries have unmet financing needs and the MSME finance gap in developing countries is estimated to be approximately $5 trillion – 1.3 times the current level of MSME lending.”  In addition, the cost of credit for these loans can exceed 200% effective APR.  MSMEs in emerging markets are key players in reducing poverty in developing nations and advancing economic development.




Backed by blockchain technology, Pngme is a mobile app that connects lenders and borrowers at a global scale. In creating a secure mobile finance marketplace, Pngme aims to address a portion of the previously mentioned $5 trillion MSME market gap.  In addition to beginning to close this gap, the product aims to both lower the cost of credit for businesses in developing countries and increase cash asset yield for institutional and retail lenders.

Several emerging and established competitors exist in the market, however, the use of blockchain technology appears to continually differentiate Pngme across competition.  For example, Lidya and Tala both attack the same problem without the use of blockchain technologies.  Though more established, both have lower Lender APY and higher cost of credit than Pngme.     

Pngme plans to charge a 20% platform fee on interest paid to lenders and predicts scalable revenues from this simple model.


The Team

CEO, Brendan Playford spent time as mining cryptocurrency before founding Constellation Labs, a CA-based blockchain microservice operating system still in operation.  With his deep entrepreneurial and industry experience, he then turned his focus to Pngme after finding difficulty in lending a friend money in Tanzania.  Brendan studied Physics at University College London.

CCO, Cate Rung spent much of her career at Uber, leading driver acquisition in the US and Canada.  Her work driving growth in B2C and two-sided marketplaces lends itself nicely to operations at Pngme. She holds a degree in Business and Marketing from the University of Connecticut. 


Why We Like it


  • Blockchain as a Differentiator:  Pngme’s proprietary blockchain infrastructure “disintermediates costly legacy processes, increases transparency of transactions, and verifies and maintains loan repayments.”  Not only does the blockchain model introduce the latter mentioned benefits, it remains unique to the Pngme product and doubles as a strong incentive in customer acquisition.



  • Early Traction:  Pngme has signed an LOI “with Nigerian mobile money provider to finance float loans to its network, using the algorithmic credit marketplace that Pngme is building.”  Additionally, Pngme has received an LOI “for licensing of our mobile app platform to capture lender demand from the Middle East and Southeast Asia.” 15,000 retial users hold a spot on the pre-launch waitlist, proving a significant market pain point has been identified and there is hope in this proprietary blockchain solution vs. other already available/established options.




  • Strong Team:  The Pngme team has both plenty of industry and entrepreneurial experience.  This paired with its strong knowledge of this large, underserved market, has allowed it to identify and solve a significant pain point. 



The Rating: Deal To Watch

Pngme is a KingCrowd Deal To Watch.

The team is still in the very early stages of product development.  With that said, Pngme boasts impressive traction. Backed by a strong team, Pngme has identified and solved a clear pain point in a large, underserved market.

The revenue model is highly scalable and there is a definite possibility for positive acquisition in the future.  In the midst of the fintech revolution, the mobile finance space is littered with positive acquisitions. Notably, Venmo was acquired in 2012 by Braintree for $26.2M. Braintree, an online payment gateway was itself acquired by Paypal in 2013 for $800M.  In addition, the product remains highly scalable so long as there remains developing countries with unmet financial needs.  

Finally, the root of the Pngme mission is largely philanthropic— reducing poverty and catalyzing economic growth in developing nations.

About: Olivia Strobl

Olivia comes to KingsCrowd with a background in venture capital and technology. She spent time at Glasswing Ventures, an AI-focused venture fund in Boston, before joining the KingsCrowd team. There she helped develop machine learning algorithms for the opportunity qualification of preseed and seed-stage startup companies. Prior to her time at Glasswing, Olivia worked in a lab studying the neural correlates of attention. She holds a degree in Neuroscience from Wellesley College.

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