Nigeria Fintech start-up Aella has raised $10 million in a debt financing round to fund expansion in West Africa and other emerging markets. The new round of funding has been led by HQ Financial Group (HQF), a Singapore-based private company specializing in new material science, semiconductor and blockchain financial investments.
Founded in 2015, Aella aims at improving financial inclusion for West Africa’s low-income communities, though its initial focus is on Nigeria and the Philippines. The company positions itself on the ability to provide simple financial products to the underbanked population in West Africa, claiming to have impacted the lives of more than 300,000 users across its Employer Backed and Direct to Consumer Verticals.
Boosting MSME expansion
It offers a broader range of financial services including savings, insurance, payments, and specialized loans.
Akin Jones, the CEO of Aella said in a statement that the new funding will allow the company to scale its lending operations and expand its product base into payments.
“Lack of access to credit and financial services has been the main impediment to MSME growth and poverty reduction in several emerging economies. Aella’s commitment to providing trustworthy credit to millions of people in the world’s emerging markets is improving financial inclusion, enabling MSME expansion and accelerating economic growth and this raise will allow us scale our expansion across Africa quickly.”
Aella also plans to invest in new products including a blockchain-based lending market called Creditcoin, which focuses on building creditworthiness of borrowers. With Creditcoin, the company hopes to attract one million additional users by the end of this year. If achieved, this would make Aella the largest blockchain-backed financial services project in operation.
“We are building a one-stop app for all transactions partnered with regulated industry leaders to help distribute products faster, better and cheaper to end-users in Nigeria and across the markets we plan to launch,” said Jones.
The new application will also allow users to have access to loans, safe and secure investment options, affordable insurance plans, bill payments, and peer-to-peer money transfers.
According to Aella, it has achieved significant growth with a 2-year compound annual user growth rate of 674%. The company’s revenues have also increased by over 193% within that period. This, Aella say puts it a pole position to become a full-service lending and payments platform, providing a wide array of fintech services across Africa.