ACE founders to launch online lending startup, Lidya

Founders of logistics company African Courier Express (ACE), Tunde Kehinde and Ercin Eksin, are set to launch an online lending startup soon.

The startup, known as Lidya, will cater to small and medium businesses (SMBs) by offering them unsecured loans between US$500 and US$15,000.

Kehinde said, “There are no real products catered to these customers today. What we’re trying to do is introduce a lot of technology, algorithms and machine learning to industrialize the credit assessment process.”

The startup will also partner Nigerian banks to allow them use the platform to target SMBs.

“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.

He added, “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.”

The startup will launch some time next month and will based out of Lagos with focus on Nigerian customers. Later along the line, it will expand to other African countries.

Kehinde is presently in New York where he’ll announce the impending launch of Lidya at a financial technology conference. The startup will be looking to raise more than US$1 million from American investors.

When Lidya eventually launches, it’ll be entering a space that is gradually gathering momentum in Nigeria – PayLater and Aella Credit are offering similar service.

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