• Nigerian fintech startup Lidya has raised $6.9 million in a Series A investment round led by Omidyar Network and Alitheia Capital.

Nigerian fintech startup Lidya has raised $6.9 million in a Series A investment round to allow it to expand its loan book, scale across Nigeria and Africa, and grow its team.

The fundraising was led by Omidyar Network and Alitheia Capital, co-manager of Umunthu.

Tunde Kehinde, co-founder of Lidya said: “Lidya was founded on a simple, yet fundamental idea: technology can unleash and empower a generation of business leaders and entrepreneurs throughout Africa by revolutionising how risk is assessed, credit is underwritten, and customers are banked.”

“We are excited by the overwhelming support from the investor community, which signals a great confidence in our business model and team,” Ercin Eksin, co-founder of Lidya added.

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Ameya Upadhyay, an investment principal at Omidyar Network and new board member of Lidya, said access to flexible, affordable credit was at the crux of unlocking growth in the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises sector.

He said: “Lidya is addressing that by using smart algorithms to analyse transaction data from small businesses to assess their creditworthiness.

“This data-driven approach allows the company to offer loans without the need of hard collateral-a requirement that has scuttled MSME financing in Africa. In the process, Lidya gathers insights that help expand its product portfolio to become a holistic partner to small businesses.”

The funds raised will allow Lidya to expand its loan book, scale in Nigeria, enter new markets in Africa, and bring in more skilled professionals, particularly data scientists and engineers to help fulfil its mission.

Lidya, since inception in 2016 has granted more than 1,500 loans to help companies involved in agriculture, hospitality, logistics, real estate or health in Africa. The startup also raised $1.25 million dollars in seed funding in 2017 led by Accion Venture Lab.