Nigerian fintech startup Aella Credit has raised an undisclosed follow-on round of seed funding from investors including 500 Startups and Y Combinator as it grows its user base and expands into blockchain-powered lending.
Aella Credit, which raised US$7.2 million in equity and debt financing in 2015, is a personal lender, underwriting loans with a proprietary algorithm focused on the Nigerian market and integrated with credit bureaus.
The algorithm, which was built after the team gathered over five years of market data and analysis, processes an applicant’s eligibility for a loan by considering social and demographic factors as well as their debt to income ratio.
Chief executive officer (CEO) Akinola Jones has told Disrupt Africa the startup has raised further funding, and will soon be raising a Series A round due to “astronomical demand, strong growth and low default rates on the platform”.
US-based accelerators and VC funds 500 Startups and Y Combinator are among the investors in the round, with Aella Credit having previously taken part in the 500 Startups programme. Vy Capital, Zeno Ventures, Unis Venture Fund and Friale Fund also took part.
The round also included a number of prominent angel investors, including CoinBase CEO Brian Armstrong, Eric Uhrhane of Google, and Outschool co-founder Mikhail Seregine.
Jones said Aella Credit has also signed an exclusive partnership with Gluwa to pioneer blockchain-powered lending in Africa, ensuring low FX volatility for foreign investors and much needed capital for Africans.
“We’ve updated our business model and are growing users by over 80 per cent quarter-on-quarter, with over US$4,000 borrowers at an average US$500 loan size. We are pushing for 10,000 customers in Q4,” he said.
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