Lulalend, a South African FinTech firm that provides digital lending services to underprivileged SMEs, has secured US $35 million in a Series B fundraising round to support corporate growth.
Lulalend, the first online automated source of business funding in South Africa, was established in 2014. It leverages patented AI technology to make cash flow management for business owners simpler. Lulalend offers solutions to assist SMEs in South Africa to prosper, including all-in-one business bank accounts, cutting-edge financial analysis software, and rapid access to capital.
In addition to existing investors International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Quona Capital, the German development finance institution DEG, Triodos Investment Management, and Women’s World Banking Asset Management also participated in the startup’s US $35 million Series B funding round, which was led by global impact investor Lightrock.
According to the International Finance Corporation, South Africa’s persistent SME credit deficit is projected to be more than US $20 billion per year. Lulalend will utilize the money to develop its company and close this gap.
The recent expansion of its client offering includes the addition of Lula, a neo-banking product created in collaboration with Access Bank. With a bank account designed exclusively for SMEs, an AI-driven cash flow management tool, and real-time access to finance through the current Lulalend lending options, Lula aims to make money management for South Africa’s more than two million formal and unofficial SMEs simpler. The platform already has 20,000 firms on its waitlist, demonstrating the need for this innovative approach to business finance.
With the money received, Lulalend will be able to grow the size of its loan book, launch new products, and invest in personnel and technology to hasten the launch of its brand-new digital business banking offering. Additionally, the business will strive to grow its offering to women-owned SMEs in the area in collaboration with new investor Women’s World Banking Asset Management.
“We are excited to utilise these funds to grow and evolve our products so we can better serve the needs of South Africa’s SMEs. We hope that our impact on this vital sector of the economy, which accounts for almost 40 percent of GDP and 60 percent of private sector employment, is nothing short of transformative. Our vision is to drive financial inclusion, and act as a catalyst for growth and prosperity across the SME sector,” said Trevor Gosling, co-founder, and CEO of Lulalend.
Traditional lenders have consistently mistreated the SME sector, unfairly impeding the expansion of businesses that are the foundation of South Africa’s economy, according to Arul Thomas, principal at Lightrock.
“We are delighted to be partnering with Trevor and his dedicated team, who are levelling the playing field for SMEs with their simple, fast, and transparent approach to business finance,” he said.