Ugandan fintech startup Numida has been in operation since 2017. The company has found its footing, offering customers loans ranging from $100 to $5,000 depending on their business portfolio, at an interest rate of 10% to 16%.
The company has now announced has secured a $12.3 million pre-Series A round of equity and debt funding to help it expand its team and move into new markets.
The startup uses proprietary credit models and tech-based underwriting processes to enable customers to get unsecured loans. Numida says that unlike most digital lenders today, they don’t use customer data such as contacts and social media accounts as a condition to disburse loans.
Numida is the brainchild of Mina Shahid, Catherine Denis and Ben Best who breathed it to life in 2017.
“Our claim to fame is that we’ve figured out how to score and disburse unsecured working capital to cash-based businesses that have no digital transaction history. We’re not reliant on any digital POS or ecommerce marketplace data and we also don’t scrape people’s phones. This has allowed us to significantly broaden our customer segment and serve the mom-and-pop shops that make up the majority of businesses in Africa,” says Shahid.
The funding round was led by Serena Ventures, pumping $7.3 million in equity funding. Other participants include Breega, 4Di Capital, Launch Africa Ventures, Soma Capital, and Y Combinator, as well as existing investor MFS Africa. The remaining $5 million will be financed through debt from Lendable Asset Management.
“We’re impressed by the strength and commitment of Numida’s team and their methodical approach to solving a very complex problem – how to give a US$500 loan to a business that has no collateral, operates in cash, and is semi-formal,” said Serena Ventures general partner Alison Rapaport. “We are excited to join their mission to unlock the potential of these businesses across the continent,” she added.”
The Y-Combinator-backed startup is operating in an environment that has been long neglected by traditional banks.
The company says it has so far provided more than $20 million in unsecured working capital to 27,000 micro and small businesses.