[FinExtra] Digital lender Lidya raises $8.3m

Originally posted on FinExtra

International alternative SME finance lender, Lidya, has successfully raised US$8.3 million in a pre-series B funding round.

The funding will support Lidya as the business looks to grow its lending operations for SMEs across its African and European markets. The funding round was led by Alitheia Capital (via the uMunthu Fund) with participation from Bamboo Capital Partners, Accion Venture Lab and Flourish Ventures. Additionally, Lidya raised a US$300,000 line of credit from Bamboo Capital Partners.

The successful equity raise comes as Lidya sets its sights on solidifying its presence in European and African markets with a focus on expanding its current portfolio of services to support high-growth SMEs in fast growing economies. Following the raise, Lidya co-Founder, Tunde Kehinde, has been named sole CEO, while Ercin Eksin has departed the business to pursue other projects.

In October 2019, Lidya announced its expansion into Europe with new lending operations launching in Poland and the Czech Republic. Lidya is on a steep growth trajectory and has ambitious plans to become the leading SME financier in fast growing economies. To date (May 2021), Lidya has disbursed over 25,000 loans and has a more than 90% customer repeat rate.

Tunde Kehinde, Lidya co-founder and CEO, said: “This latest round of funding is a significant milestone for our business and will help us to increase our loan book to meet strong and growing demand for our services across all three of our country markets.

“Our more than 90% customer repeat rate in Nigeria and Europe demonstrates that we are providing a service that SMEs need. At the height of the pandemic, we began lending in Europe and have been a vital means of financial support for businesses across multiple sectors, including healthcare, grocery and other essential sectors.“Lidya remains committed to our founding principle of providing credit to leading small businesses across multiple sectors. As the world begins to emerge from this crisis, we are committed to enabling a strong ecosystem of leading SMEs with innovative products that allow them to unlock their potential and help growing economies to build back better.”

‘Tokunboh Ishmael, Alitheia Capital co-Founder and Managing Director, said: “Lidya is tackling the fundamental challenge of providing access to credit for dynamic small and growing businesses that otherwise have limited options for financing working capital to scale their businesses in Africa and Europe. Alitheia Capital and Goodwell are pleased to be backing a team whose mission aligns with our objective of driving growth and social impact by enabling access and inclusion to finance and financial services.”

Lidya, which is registered in the United States and has lending operations in Poland, Czech Republic and Nigeria alongside a dedicated tech team in Portugal, partners with banks, payments processors and consumer brands to provide loans within 24 hours to SMEs in fast-growing economies. Lidya’s assessment platform ‘Sardis’ analyses over 1,000 data points and uses proprietary technology, including machine learning and an algorithmic model, to determine credit worthiness, build credit profiles and offer liquidity from as little as US$150.

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