Washington, DC, October 6, 2016 – South Africa-based online lending platform Lulalend announced today that it raised a new round of financing. Funds will support the company’s mission of empowering local businesses with the access to credit they need to grow. The round was led by Accion Venture Lab, the early-stage investment vehicle of the financial inclusion leader Accion, with participation from Newid Capital and Hallmann Holding International Investment GmbH.
Lulalend focuses on providing productive funding for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) throughout South Africa. Its approach leverages technology and a proprietary algorithm to evaluate applicants and provide funding quickly, conveniently, and transparently. Lulalend offers South African businesses:
- an all-digital process that allows businesses to apply for and receive funding without visiting a physical branch
- quick turnaround, expedited through the use of new data sources that allow Lulalend to make decisions within minutes and provide funding within 24 hours
- transparent pricing with no hidden fees or costs; the pricing structure is based on the total principal, and Lulalend shows the repayment schedule as part of the acceptance process
“Lulalend was founded in 2014 to provide quick, transparent online credit to small businesses in South Africa, and we’re excited to receive this new round of funding that validates our approach and our impact,” said Lulalend CEO Trevor Gosling, who founded the company alongside Lulalend Chief Technology Officer Neil Welman. “The support of these investors will be invaluable in helping Lulalend expand our team and further develop and scale our offering to provide South Africa’s businesses with the financing they need.”
“Many small businesses around the world are too small to receive credit from traditional commercial banks, yet too large to receive credit through traditional microfinance institutions,” said Accion CEO and President Michael Schlein. “Lulalend aims to address this credit gap in South Africa, and has the potential to serve the entire region, helping small business owners access funding, build credit histories, and participate in the global economy.”
Gosling and Welman founded Lulalend in 2014 to address a major need for credit access in South Africa. Around the world, systemic issues such as the high cost of due diligence, an overall lack of reliable applicant data, and inadequate funding pools for the lenders themselves often deter traditional commercial banks from working with SMEs. Conversely, the revenues for many of these same SMEs can make them too large to be eligible for funds from microfinance providers. According to a 2011 International Finance Corporation report, the funding “gap” for SMEs in Sub-Saharan Africa is estimated to be $70-90 billion, and in South Africa alone, fundable, formal businesses account for a $2.5 billion funding gap. For SMEs that do meet traditional financial institutions’ funding requirements, getting funds in-hand can take weeks, or even months. Lulalend’s rapid application and review process gives qualified SMEs the financing they need, when they need it.
Lulalend currently operates in South Africa, and is looking to expand throughout the region.
Lulalend is more than a company. It’s a belief in the power of small business, making a difference, building a better solution and striving for excellence. We work hard to empower businesses across South Africa with the funds they need to grow. Lulalend became South Africa’s first online & automated provider of short-term business funding dedicated to solving one of the biggest issues facing Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Africa & the world: financing. Through cutting-edge technological development and automation of the application process, we are able to say ‘YES!’ more often and FASTER than traditional lenders. Development of Lulalend began in August 2014 with the company being launched in May 2015.
Accion is a global nonprofit dedicated to building a financially inclusive world with economic opportunity for all, by giving people the financial tools they need to improve their lives. We are building the next generation of top-tier microfinance institutions, and over more than 50 years have helped build 65 such institutions in 32 countries on four continents that today reach millions of clients. Our impact investing initiatives are pushing beyond microfinance to catalyze more than 30 innovative start-ups dedicated to improving the efficiency, reach, and scope of financial services for the poor. And our Center for Financial Inclusion is helping to build a stronger industry with high standards and broad engagement. Currently, our work spans nearly two dozen countries, including the U.S., where we are the nation’s largest nonprofit microfinance network. For further information, visit http://www.accion.org.