South African company The Finclusion Group is building Africa’s first credit-led neobank as it bids to accelerate financial inclusion throughout Sub-Saharan Africa by delivering innovative financial tech solutions for employers, employees, and SMEs.
Launched in mid-2018 by co-founders and co-CEOs Timothy Nuy and Tonderai Mutesva, Finclusion has developed a product offering that focuses on creating value for employers, employees, and consumers while closing the credit gap that persists on the continent.
It does this via three core competencies. Its Earned Wage Access product gives employees access to earned and future wages through an employer distribution model, while its SME Finance module provides SMEs secured working capital loans, asset finance, and BNPL solutions for their end customers. Finally, its Transactional Banking product offers cards, savings accounts, and insurance to customers within its ecosystem.
“By leveraging our risk, credit, and technology expertise, we aim to be at the forefront of the fintech sector and pride ourselves on our supervised machine learning and AI capabilities. These tools allow us to make highly informed predictions on credit applications in seconds based on financial and psychometric data,” Nuy told Disrupt Africa.
Finclusion is already operating in South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Eswatini, and Namibia, and plans to expand into Uganda and Mozambique soon.
“Uptake has been good, and the number of customers, partners, and loan book sizes are all increasing positively,” said Nuy.
“We are working towards closing the credit gap that persists across the African continent so as to accelerate financial inclusion for the underbanked. Our competition ranges from MFIs, fintech groups, and traditional banks. However, we are a credit-led neobank, with a focus on inclusion, affordability, trust, and convenience.”
Finclusion is well-capitalised, having raised US$40 million through debt and equity capital raises. Interestingly, however, it has been ploughing some of that funding back into the wider African startup space, acquiring and launching various MFIs across Africa, and making investments into the likes of South Africa’s HelloHR and Kenya’s mTek. Finclusion’s books, meanwhile, are looking healthy.
“We are on track to end the year with a US$40 million loan book. We become profitable by providing people with access to safe, accessible, and appropriate financial services,” said Nuy.
“Our data analysis sets us apart from our competitors and the traditional banks, allowing us to better score and understand the risk to our customers and products. As such, we can offer loans, credit, insurance, BNPL, wage-streaming, debt-rehabilitation, and more to those that would previously have no access to these products.”
Expansion comes with challenges, however, and Finclusion looks to overcome these via a collaborative approach.
“Scaling efficiently is always a tough problem to solve, as every territory has a different approach to money, lending, access, culture, and operational infrastructure just to name a few,” said Nuy.
“This is why we choose to partner with merchants, employers, and leaders in each area so that we can better leverage each other’s skills and access to ensure the end customer gets the best possible outcome.”