Nigerian fintech startup Aella Credit raises $10m debt financing

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Nigerian lending startup Aella Credit has raised a US$10 million debt financing round to help it launch new products and expand into additional markets.

Founded in 2015 by Akin Jones and Akanbi Wale, Aella Credit underwrites loans with a proprietary algorithm and is focused on Nigeria and the Philippines.

So far the startup has made a visible impact on the lives of more than 300,000 borrowers across its employer-backed and direct to consumer verticals, who now have access to simple financial products.

Aella last raised funding in 2017, and it has now secured US$10 million in debt finance from the Singapore-based HQ Financial Group (HQF), which specialises in new material science, semiconductor and blockchain financial investments. The startup plans to use the funding to scale its lending operations and expand its product base into payments and other verticals.

“Lack of access to credit and financial services has been the main impediment to MSME growth and poverty reduction in several emerging economies. Aella’s commitment to providing trustworthy credit to millions of people in the world’s emerging markets is improving financial inclusion, enabling MSME expansion and accelerating economic growth and this raise will allow us scale our expansion across Africa quickly,” said Jones.

Aella will also invest in new products, including a blockchain-based lending market called Creditcoin, to build borrower creditworthiness and aid in the acquisition of one million additional users by the end of 2020, making it the largest blockchain-backed financial services project that is currently operational.

“We are building a one-stop app for all transactions partnered with regulated industry leaders to help distribute products faster, better and cheaper to end-users in Nigeria and across the markets we plan to launch. This app will allow users access multiple financial services at low costs compared to what is currently available in market,” Jones said.

Sun Han Gyu, chief executive officer (CEO) of HQF, said he was excited to announce the company’s partnership with Aella Credit, which would significantly aid in the proliferation of micro-loan services to underserved African populations.

“HQF is impressed with their outstanding growth with very low default rate in the micro-loan business in Nigeria and look forward, through this initial investment of US$10 million to new growth opportunities in Africa and South Asia,” he said.

Over the last two years, Aella has recorded a two-year compound annual user growth rate of 674 per cent, a 193 per cent increase in revenue, and maintained a single-digit default rate.

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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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