Lidya, a financial institution that provides access to credit and finance across frontier and emerging markets, has announced $8.3million pre-Series B funding a year after expanding to Europe.
The start-up is targeting Poland and Czech Republic. It is looking to disburse $1.1 billion within the next five years to SMEs unable to get bank loans.
The idea of starting Lydia was created in 2016 by former Managing Director of Jumia, Tunde Kehinde and former Jumia COO, Ercin Eksin after they left Jumia in 2013/2014.
A seed fund of $1.5 million was raised followed by a $6.9 million in Series A a year after, making a total of $6.9 million raised since its launch
According to TechCrunch, after its Series A, Lidya claimed to have given 1,500 business loans. The company has disbursed over 25,000 loans since launching, including $3 million in loans to SMEs in Poland and Czech Republic.
The startup also announced that co-founder, Ercin Eksin has left the startup to begin other projects, leaving Kehinde as sole CEO.
Lidya, expanded to Europe during the pandemic. The CEO, recounts how tough it was for the team, especially in the period that was so unusual. He said “it was difficult enough to make an attempt to launch in two new countries but we try doing that remotely” he also adds “We’re so decentralized. We had operations in Nigeria, and we were launching in Eastern Europe remotely, making sure the puzzle stays together. The team really stepped up. Everyone doubled down on the mission and we came out of the year without having any deterioration.”.
The CEO’s decision to expand to Europe instead of other Africa markets to build a global business from day one given the size of the problem where there is a $3 trillion credit gap, ” CEO Kehinde said to TechCrunch. “We challenged ourselves not to limit ourselves to one market and went through some data before expanding to Europe.”
Lidya, has teams spread across 3 continents and 5 countries which are USA, Portugal, Nigeria, Poland and Czech Republic. There is no doubt that the company is making steps to achieve its aim.