Lulalend, South Africa’s First Online Automated Provider of Short-Term Funding for Small and Medium Enterprises, Raises $6.5 Million Series A
Co-led by Quona Capital and IFC
CAPE TOWN, South Africa, June 26, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Lulalend, South Africa’s first online automated provider of short-term funding for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), today announced its Series A financing of $6.5 million. The round was co-led by IFC and Quona Capital, a leading fintech firm whose funds are sponsored by Accion, with participation from existing investors Accion Venture Lab and Newid Capital. The new funding will provide growth capital to help Lulalend scale in response to South Africa’s significant funding gap for small businesses. More information on Lulalend is available at https://www.lulalend.co.za/
Lulalend was established in 2014 by co-founders Trevor Gosling and Neil Welman. Unlike traditional financial institutions, Lulalend allows SMEs to apply for and receive funding without visiting a bank branch. Its lending decisions are automated, and funding is provided within 24 hours. Leveraging data from alternative and online sources, Lulalend utilizes a proprietary scoring algorithm that allows it to evaluate applicants and provide funding to SMEs quickly, conveniently, and transparently. Most of the funding provided by Lulalend to small and medium-sized businesses is used for inventory or equipment, renovations or marketing.
“69 percent of small and medium-sized businesses in South Africa say that access to working capital would help their businesses grow,” said Trevor Gosling, co-founder and CEO of Lulalend. “Yet for years in South Africa there’s been a massive funding gap for small-and medium enterprises, the very lifeblood of the economy. This fundraise from Quona Capital, a leading VC globally in emerging markets fintech, and IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, provides us with the growth capital and support we need to scale and drive exciting partnerships.”
“Quona Capital has been excited about Lulalend from the very earliest stage,” said Johan Bosini, Quona Capital partner. “Lulalend has built a seamless user experience that solves a massive funding gap faced by so many SMEs in South Africa — enabling SMEs to grow and thrive, rather than getting stuck due to lack of working capital. We’re happy to partner with the IFC to fund this growing company.”
Quona Capital is a venture capital firm focused on fintech for inclusion in emerging markets, leveraging a strategic relationship with Accion, a nonprofit financial inclusion pioneer. Accion’s seed-stage investment initiative Accion Venture Lab first invested in Lulalend in 2016, and made a follow-on investment in this round.
“Small business lending is changing, and by partnering with digital innovators like Lulalend we can capitalize on new sources of data and models to deliver finance to reach more small businesses in South Africa, thus driving job creation and economic growth,” said Kevin Njiraini, IFC’s Regional Director for Southern Africa and Nigeria.
The partnership with Lulalend is part of IFC’s comprehensive program to deepen small business development and promote access to finance to improve economic inclusion and create job opportunities.
Founded in 2014 by Trevor Gosling and Neil Welman, Lulalend was created to provide SMEs in South Africa with the best possible funding for their businesses. To do this, Lulalend utilizes proprietary credit scoring technology which enables it to provide quick decisions, fast funding, and transparent pricing to SMEs. For more information, visit https://www.lulalend.co.za/
About Quona Capital
Quona Capital is a scale-up stage venture firm focused on fintech for inclusion in emerging markets. Quona partners have deep experience as investors and operators in both emerging and developed markets, and look for entrepreneurs whose companies have the potential to provide outstanding financial returns and promote breakthrough innovation in financial inclusion. To date, Quona has supported more than 20 financial technology companies expanding access for underserved consumers and small businesses in Latin America, South and Southeast Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa. Quona got its start through a strategic relationship with Accion, a global nonprofit with a pioneering legacy in microfinance and fintech impact investing. The firm has offices in Washington D.C., Bangalore, Cape Town, Mexico City and Singapore. For more information, visit quona.com.
IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world. In fiscal year 2018, we delivered more than $23 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org
Tom Stuart for Lulalend
+27 (0) 87 943 2381
Shannon Austin for Quona Capital
+1 (703) 338-8813
Devon Maylie for IFC