Y Combinator-Backed Nigerian Micro-Lender Raises $10M, Plans To Build On The Blockchain

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Written by Peter Pedroncelli
Nigerian Micro-lender
Nigerian micro-lender Aella Credit has raised $10M. It plans to expand its product base into payments and create a blockchain-based lending market. Aella co-founders, Akanbi Wale and Akinola Jones. Image supplied by Aella

Nigerian micro-lender Aella Credit, which participated in Y Combinator‘s 2017 incubator program, has raised $10 million from Singapore-based HQ Financial Group in a debt-financing round, according to a statement.

Founded in 2015 by Akin Jones and Akabi Wale, Aella Credit offers financial products — savings, insurance, and loans — to low-income households and early-stage businesses in Nigeria, Ghana, and the Philippines via a mobile app.

The fintech firm claims to have made loans to more than 300,000 borrowers in amounts ranging from $5 to $250.

Aella plans to use the $10 million funding to scale its lending operations and expand its product base into payments, Weetracker reports.

The fintech firm also plans to create a blockchain-based lending market called Creditcoin to build borrower creditworthiness, according to Techpoint.

Aella has raised $12 million to date including $2 million in 2017 when the micro-lender took part in the Y Combinator program in Silicon Valley.

Silicon Valley-based Y Combinator is perhaps the world’s most powerful startup accelerator program.

By entering the saturated Nigerian payments market, Aella will be competing with Paga, Paystack, OPay, and PalmPay.

In November 2019 alone, three fintech companies targeting Nigeria’s payments market received $360 million in investments.

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Sub-Saharan Africa’s remittances market was worth $38 billion in 2017, according to World Bank data

Nigeria has the largest number of remittance recipients, with almost 58 percent —  $21.9 billion worth — of sub-Saharan Africa’s total remittances.