Nigeria’s First Online-Only Lender Lidya Small Business Loans and Working Capital

Two entrepreneurs are set to unveil Nigeria’s first online lender in New York on Thursday.

Marketed as a digital bank that will have no branches, Lidya will be based in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, and offer small and medium-sized businesses unsecured loans of between $500 and $15,000. While it will initially focus on Nigerian customers, Lidya will target cities across Africa, according to Tunde Kehinde, a co-founder.

“There are no real products catered to these customers today,” Kehinde said by phone from New York, where he’ll announce the formation of Lidya at a financial technology conference. “What we’re trying to do is introduce a lot of technology, algorithms and machine learning to industrialize the credit assessment process.”

Kehinde, a Harvard Business School graduate, is a former managing director of Jumia, Nigeria’s biggest online retailer. He currently runs Africa Courier Express, a logistics company, along with Ercin Eksin, the other founder of Lidya.

While Kehinde and Eksin are the majority owners, they will look to bring in other shareholders and raise more than $1 million in the next few months from investors, primarily in the U.S., Eksin said.

Lidya will be opened next month and also partner with Nigerian banks to allow them to use it as a platform to target small businesses.

“Because of how the banks are set up, with bricks and mortar networks, they’re more inclined to service multinationals and large government institutions,” Kehinde said. “Their cost structure isn’t favorable to servicing small businesses. Because we’re using technology and algorithms to assess the risk, it allows them to offer financial products to these customers at a low cost.”

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Ezeadichie Onyeka Michael is the Co-Founder of Haelsoft, a Professional Services Company in Nigeria that provides Information and Technology Services for small and big size companies in Nigeria(Africa). He is an Entrepreneur and Venture Capitalist with Expertise in Web Technology and Digital Marketing. He has developed & Implemented Digital Marketing Strategies(Campaigns) for top brands across sectors in Finance, Telecommunication, Ecommerce who operate in the African market. His professional experience includes key roles at Google Business Group(Nigeria), Google Women on the Web (Nigeria), Edubridge Consultant and Wild Fusion where he has trained over 500 Entrepreneurs on how to use various Web Technology products to succeed online. Customer centricity, User Experience, Conversion optimization are 3 pronged framework he applies around the often-frenetic world of web analytics to ensure that clients stay competitive in the market. He believes that investing in talent is the key to long term success for brands across Nigeria (Africa).

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