Nigeria’s Lidya raises $6.9m Series A round

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Nigerian fintech startup Lidya has raised US$6.9 million in a Series A investment round led by Omidyar Network to allow it to expand its loan book, scale across Nigeria and Africa, and grow its team.

Launched in 2016, Lidya is a digital financial services platform focused on improving access to credit for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in Africa.

Since its launch, it has made over 1,500 business loans to help MSMEs in farming, hospitality, logistics, retail, real estate, technology, and health get the capital they need to grow their operations.

Having raised US$1.25 million in funding in March of last year, Lidya has now secured a US$6.9 million round led by Omidyar Network, the Silicon Valley impact investment firm established by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. New investors Alitheia Capital (via the Umunthu Fund), Bamboo Capital Partners, and Tekton Ventures, also joined the round, which included existing investors Accion Venture Lab and Newid Capital.

The funds raised will allow Lidya to expand its loan book, scale in Nigeria, enter new markets in Africa, and bring in more skilled professionals, particularly data scientists and engineers.

“Lidya was founded on a simple, yet fundamental idea: technology can unleash and empower a generation of business leaders and entrepreneurs throughout Africa by revolutionizing how risk is assessed, credit is underwritten, and customers are banked,” said Tunde Kehinde, co-founder of Lidya.

“We are excited by the overwhelming support from the investor community, which signals a great confidence in our business model and team,” added Ercin Eksin, cofounder of Lidya.

Ameya Upadhyay, investment principal at Omidyar Network and Lidya’s newest board member, said access to flexible, affordable credit was at the crux of unlocking growth in the MSME sector.

“Lidya is addressing that by using smart algorithms to analyze transaction data from small businesses to assess their creditworthiness,” he said. “This data-driven approach allows the company to offer loans without the need of hard collateral-a requirement that has scuttled MSME financing in Africa. In the process, Lidya gathers insights that help expand its product portfolio to become a holistic partner to small businesses.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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