Nigerian based lending startup Lidya has raised a $8.3 million pre-Series B funding round to grow its operations for SMEs across its markets.
The funding round was led by Alitheia Capital and supported by others, including Bamboo Capital Partners and Accion Venture Lab.
Founded by former Managing Director of Jumia, Tunde Kehinde and former Jumia COO, Ercin Eksin in 2016, Lidya is a Lagos-based startup that provides small business owners access to a working capital they can use to expand their business operations. Lidya uses credit-scoring smart algorithms and technology to predict a customer’s creditworthiness.
These algorithms provide a unique credit score for each user, and it is based on this score that Lidya gives loans ranging from $150 to $50,000 to a business.
One year after the launch of Lidya, a seed fund of $1.5 M was announced, followed by a Series A fund of $6.9 M in 2018. Altogether, the startup has raised $16.45 million since its launch.
In 2019, the company expanded its operations to Poland and the Czech Republic. However, it was not until March 2020 that the company’s activities fully kickstarted.
Since then, Lidya claims to have disbursed over $3 million to SMEs in the two countries with both European markets representing about 30% of the company’s disbursement volume.
The company has also disbursed over 25,000 loans and claims to have more than a 90% customer repeat rate according to Techcrunch.
Commenting on the rare move of expanding into Europe, CEO Kehinde said “We’re really excited about the fact that we started in Nigeria and now our product is live in two European countries. Typically, people come into Nigeria from other parts of the world, but we’ve gone from Nigeria to other parts. We’re proud of the traction we’ve gotten in our push to build the biggest finance house for SMEs in our markets.”
Speaking on the investment, Alitheia Capital co-founder and managing director Tokunboh Ishmael 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.”