Small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) have been engines of growth in countries around the world. Last month, there was news from Lagos, Nigeria, that a new online financial services platform – Lidya – will be offering loans and banking services to small businesses across Africa. This is a major step forward for global financial inclusion. It also signals that a next wave for fintech is underway.
Fintech, or the unique blending of financial technology with innovative new business models, is ready to take on more vexing challenges.
Here in Silicon Valley, we’ve seen that a repeatable recipe for success combines entrepreneurial talent, technology, and access to funding. Companies in emerging markets lack access to capital and standard banking products. This hampers their business growth, and limits the potential for those entrepreneurs to succeed.
Lidya was founded by Tunde Kehinde and Ercin Eksin, veteran entrepreneurs with MBAs from Harvard and the University of Chicago, respectively. “The overall aim of this platform is to tackle the huge issue of financial inclusion in Africa and to help support the continent’s entrepreneurs,” says Tunde Kehinde, co-founder.
Lidya issues loans from between US$500 and $US15,000, which can be distributed to customers in as little as 72 hours. This is in contrast to the average of 6 months it would take to receive a loan of that amount in a traditional bank, according to Kehinde and Eksin.
At Beyond the Arc, we’re longtime champions of using predictive analytics to transform the banking industry. We’re pleased to see that the Lidya platform leverages a unique predictive credit-scoring algorithm to determine eligibility.
Lidya’s technology enables individuals who may not have standard credit histories to open accounts, build credit profiles and access credit for both business and personal use. “Lidya is revolutionizing how risk is assessed and how credit is disbursed. We look forward to helping our customers access the capital they need to fulfill their potential. ” says co-founder Ercin Eksin.
We’re impressed with the launch of Lidya and we wish them well!