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With over 1.3 million users, Nigerian-based fintech FairMoney wants to replicate growth in India

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There are over 1.7 billion underbanked people globally, the majority of which are from emerging markets. For them, accessing loans can be difficult, which is a problem fintechs try to solve. One way they do this is by promoting financial inclusion by underwriting credit via a proprietary algorithm.

One such company is FairMoney, which describes itself as “the mobile banking revolution for emerging markets.” FairMoney, founded by Laurin Hainy, Matthieu Gendreau and Nicolas Berthozat, is a licensed online lender that provides instant loans and bill payments to underserved consumers in emerging markets.

Three years after launching its mobile lending service in Nigeria, the company set up shop in India, Asia’s second-most populous country in August 2020.

Before expanding, FairMoney experienced exponential growth in Nigeria in terms of loans disbursement. Last year, it disbursed a total loan volume of $93 million, representing a 128% increase from 2019 and a staggering 3,189% growth rate from its first year of operation in 2018. As it stands, the company is projecting a $140 million loan disbursement volume by the end of 2021. 

“I think we’ve been able to disburse 25-30% more than some of our competitors and I think we’re a market leader,” Hainy, the company’s CEO told TechCrunch. But compared with traditional banks, it was the seventh-largest digital financial services provider in that area.

FairMoney has come a long way since its Nigeria launch in 2017. In its first year of operation, the company had little over 100,000 users. Now, it claims to have 1.3 million unique users who have made over 6.5 million loan applications. FairMoney offers loans from ₦1,500 ($3.30) to ₦500,000 ($1,110.00) with its longest loan facility standing at 12 months. Annual percentage rates fall within 30% to 260% — the high APR, Hainy says, is due to higher default rates in Nigeria. That said, FairMoney also claims to have an NPL ratio lower than 10%. 

According to the CEO, data-driven insights was behind the choice to expand to India. The Indian market is quite similar to Nigeria’s. In the Asian country, only 36% of adults have access to credit, leaving an untapped market of about 141 million people microfinance banks do not serve. But unlike Nigeria, India has better unit economics for the lending business and a more friendly regulatory environment.

“If our ambition is to build the leading mobile bank for emerging markets, we need to start with very large markets,” Hainy said. “We tested our products in 10 different markets checking out for things like what the yield economics is like, NPLs, cost of risk, customer acquisition cost, cost of infrastructure and India stood out to us.”

FairMoney Nigeria team

Following its expansion six months ago, FairMoney claims to have processed more than half a million loan applications from over 100,000 unique users. This number trickles down to 5,000-6,000 loan applications per day with APR standing at 12-36%. Hainy says the company has achieved this with zero ad spend or marketing. 

Due to the daunting logistics behind international expansions, it’s challenging for an African-based startup to expand outside the shores of the continent. Although a rarity, there are a couple of startups to have undertaken such a task. Last year, Nigerian fintech Paga with 15 million users and a network of over 24,000 agents acquired Ethiopian software company Apposit to fast-track its expansion into Ethiopia and Mexico. 

FairMoney is on a similar path, as well. And with over 100 staff spread across Nigeria, France, and Latvia, the company hopes to build an engineering and marketing team in India.

Last month, it hired the services of Rohan Khara to become its chief product officer (CPO) and facilitate the expansion. Khara was the former head of product for financial services for Indonesian super app Gojek and held senior roles at Microsoft, Quikr and MobiKwik. Hainy says with Khara’s wealth of experience building consumer products in large emerging markets — India and Indonesia — FairMoney is poised for massive growth in Nigeria and India.

“We both share the vision that financial services in emerging markets need fixing and for us, Rohan brings the expertise to see FairMoney scale from almost a million users to 10 or 20 million users.”

FairMoney French team

Born in Germany to a Nigerian father and German mother, Hainy began his entrepreneurial journey in 2015 by launching a food delivery company in Sweden. Seven months later, he founded Le Studio VC, a Paris-based startup studio and €15 million fund he ran as CEO for three years.

“After those three years, I realised that being an investor wasn’t for me yet. I felt I was too young and I wanted to build something myself,” he said.

Neobanks like Revolut in the UK and N26 in Germany were picking up across Europe. Hainy wanted to create such for Nigeria after noticing how much people lacked access to affordable financial services during a visit.

But despite studying other neobank models, Hainy and his team couldn’t replicate them in a developing market like Nigeria. Credit was still significantly underserved by Nigerian banks because of the strict methodology employed in allocating loans. Sensing an opportunity, they launched FairMoney as a neobank by leveraging a credit-first model. Like Nubank in Brazil, FairMoney started off offering loans to solve the access to credit problem. But its broader vision is not to be just a digital bank but also a commercial bank.

The company is working towards getting a microfinance bank license to operate as the former in Nigeria. However, according to the CEO, the commercial bank license will take longer maybe five to ten years. 

“In the next five to ten years, I’d like to think two out of the five largest commercial banks in Nigeria will be neobanks. We want FairMoney to be one of them,” he said.

The Lagos and Paris-based company raised $11 million Series A in 2019. Between now and the time it will get a commercial bank license, Hainy says the company would’ve raised its Series B round to position itself for that task.

After India, which emerging market will FairMoney expand to next? There’s none in sight at the moment, the CEO says. The company plans to move from a credit-led value proposition to a full financial service provider, deepen its verticals, and replicate Nigeria’s growth in India for now.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/02/18/with-over-1-3-million-users-nigerian-based-fintech-fairmoney-wants-to-replicate-growth-in-india/

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Turning Talents Into Tender: West Tenth Bags $1.5M For Women’s Digital Marketplace

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The global pandemic changed the way women thought about their careers, with many choosing to leave their jobs in order to stay home and care for family members.

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West Tenth, a digital marketplace that is helping women turn nontraditional talents into flexible businesses run from home, closed $1.5 million in seed funding led by Better Ventures. Joining the firm was Stand Together Ventures Lab, Kapital Partners, The Community Fund, Backstage Capital, Wedbush Ventures and Gaingels. The funding gives West Tenth $1.75 million in total funding, according to Lyn Johnson, co-founder and CEO.

Johnson and Sara Sparhawk founded the Los Angeles-based company in 2019 after recognizing that many women turn to home-based businesses if traditional employment does not work out.

“We are supportive of women leaving the workforce, but terrible at supporting them on the way back in,” Johnson said. “As a result, women are turning to micro-entrepreneurship. However, it is hard to see all of those microbusinesses. Many are not on Google or Yelp and have to get word of mouth or be on some sort of social media.”

Prior to the pandemic, 28 million women in the United States did not participate in the workforce, Johnson told Crunchbase News. It is estimated that approximately 2.4 million women exited the workforce over the past year, compared with 1.8 million men, according to an NBC News report.

West Tenth app example

West Tenth’s app enables women to monetize their domestic talents, such as baking, photography or home organization, and then connects them with people in their communities who would like to purchase their products or services.

It is free to have a storefront on the app and people can purchase from the platform, with West Tenth collecting a portion of the purchases, Johnson said.

By Sparhawk’s count, there are more than 9 million home-based businesses, so the company will be using the new funds to build out its product team to get the marketplace into more hands, providing education and a community. The company is also spearheading a program called “The Foundry by West Tenth” that will have guest speakers and networking events focused on topics relevant to women, Sparhawk said in an interview.

The company’s marketplace started with 20 businesses and has grown to 600. It primarily operates in Southern California and Salt Lake City, and West Tenth is planning to expand into Boise and Phoenix later this year, but is also accepting new home-based businesses every day from women across the U.S.

Meanwhile, Lyndsey Boucherle, principle at Better Ventures, said in a written statement that the firm likes to back founders that are democratizing access to opportunity and prosperity.

“West Tenth provides a platform and community for women entrepreneurs to build their own businesses, at a time when women have left the workforce in record numbers,” Boucherle added. “We are excited to support their mission to enable these women to turn their skills and talents into successful home-based businesses.”

Feature photo of West Tenth co-founders Lyn Johnson and Sara Sparhawk, as well as app inset photo courtesy of the company.
Blogroll illustration: Li-Anne Dias

Checkout PrimeXBT
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Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/turning-talents-into-tender-west-tenth-bags-1-5m-for-womens-digital-marketplace/

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Turning Talents Into Tender: West Tenth Bags $1.5M For Women’s Digital Marketplace

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The global pandemic changed the way women thought about their careers, with many choosing to leave their jobs in order to stay home and care for family members.

Subscribe to the Crunchbase Daily

West Tenth, a digital marketplace that is helping women turn nontraditional talents into flexible businesses run from home, closed $1.5 million in seed funding led by Better Ventures. Joining the firm was Stand Together Ventures Lab, Kapital Partners, The Community Fund, Backstage Capital, Wedbush Ventures and Gaingels. The funding gives West Tenth $1.75 million in total funding, according to Lyn Johnson, co-founder and CEO.

Johnson and Sara Sparhawk founded the Los Angeles-based company in 2019 after recognizing that many women turn to home-based businesses if traditional employment does not work out.

“We are supportive of women leaving the workforce, but terrible at supporting them on the way back in,” Johnson said. “As a result, women are turning to micro-entrepreneurship. However, it is hard to see all of those microbusinesses. Many are not on Google or Yelp and have to get word of mouth or be on some sort of social media.”

Prior to the pandemic, 28 million women in the United States did not participate in the workforce, Johnson told Crunchbase News. It is estimated that approximately 2.4 million women exited the workforce over the past year, compared with 1.8 million men, according to an NBC News report.

West Tenth app example

West Tenth’s app enables women to monetize their domestic talents, such as baking, photography or home organization, and then connects them with people in their communities who would like to purchase their products or services.

It is free to have a storefront on the app and people can purchase from the platform, with West Tenth collecting a portion of the purchases, Johnson said.

By Sparhawk’s count, there are more than 9 million home-based businesses, so the company will be using the new funds to build out its product team to get the marketplace into more hands, providing education and a community. The company is also spearheading a program called “The Foundry by West Tenth” that will have guest speakers and networking events focused on topics relevant to women, Sparhawk said in an interview.

The company’s marketplace started with 20 businesses and has grown to 600. It primarily operates in Southern California and Salt Lake City, and West Tenth is planning to expand into Boise and Phoenix later this year, but is also accepting new home-based businesses every day from women across the U.S.

Meanwhile, Lyndsey Boucherle, principle at Better Ventures, said in a written statement that the firm likes to back founders that are democratizing access to opportunity and prosperity.

“West Tenth provides a platform and community for women entrepreneurs to build their own businesses, at a time when women have left the workforce in record numbers,” Boucherle added. “We are excited to support their mission to enable these women to turn their skills and talents into successful home-based businesses.”

Feature photo of West Tenth co-founders Lyn Johnson and Sara Sparhawk, as well as app inset photo courtesy of the company.
Blogroll illustration: Li-Anne Dias

Checkout PrimeXBT
Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/turning-talents-into-tender-west-tenth-bags-1-5m-for-womens-digital-marketplace/

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Turning Talents Into Tender: West Tenth Bags $1.5M For Women’s Digital Marketplace

Avatar

Published

on

The global pandemic changed the way women thought about their careers, with many choosing to leave their jobs in order to stay home and care for family members.

Subscribe to the Crunchbase Daily

West Tenth, a digital marketplace that is helping women turn nontraditional talents into flexible businesses run from home, closed $1.5 million in seed funding led by Better Ventures. Joining the firm was Stand Together Ventures Lab, Kapital Partners, The Community Fund, Backstage Capital, Wedbush Ventures and Gaingels. The funding gives West Tenth $1.75 million in total funding, according to Lyn Johnson, co-founder and CEO.

Johnson and Sara Sparhawk founded the Los Angeles-based company in 2019 after recognizing that many women turn to home-based businesses if traditional employment does not work out.

“We are supportive of women leaving the workforce, but terrible at supporting them on the way back in,” Johnson said. “As a result, women are turning to micro-entrepreneurship. However, it is hard to see all of those microbusinesses. Many are not on Google or Yelp and have to get word of mouth or be on some sort of social media.”

Prior to the pandemic, 28 million women in the United States did not participate in the workforce, Johnson told Crunchbase News. It is estimated that approximately 2.4 million women exited the workforce over the past year, compared with 1.8 million men, according to an NBC News report.

West Tenth app example

West Tenth’s app enables women to monetize their domestic talents, such as baking, photography or home organization, and then connects them with people in their communities who would like to purchase their products or services.

It is free to have a storefront on the app and people can purchase from the platform, with West Tenth collecting a portion of the purchases, Johnson said.

By Sparhawk’s count, there are more than 9 million home-based businesses, so the company will be using the new funds to build out its product team to get the marketplace into more hands, providing education and a community. The company is also spearheading a program called “The Foundry by West Tenth” that will have guest speakers and networking events focused on topics relevant to women, Sparhawk said in an interview.

The company’s marketplace started with 20 businesses and has grown to 600. It primarily operates in Southern California and Salt Lake City, and West Tenth is planning to expand into Boise and Phoenix later this year, but is also accepting new home-based businesses every day from women across the U.S.

Meanwhile, Lyndsey Boucherle, principle at Better Ventures, said in a written statement that the firm likes to back founders that are democratizing access to opportunity and prosperity.

“West Tenth provides a platform and community for women entrepreneurs to build their own businesses, at a time when women have left the workforce in record numbers,” Boucherle added. “We are excited to support their mission to enable these women to turn their skills and talents into successful home-based businesses.”

Feature photo of West Tenth co-founders Lyn Johnson and Sara Sparhawk, as well as app inset photo courtesy of the company.
Blogroll illustration: Li-Anne Dias

Checkout PrimeXBT
Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/turning-talents-into-tender-west-tenth-bags-1-5m-for-womens-digital-marketplace/

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What to expect tomorrow at TC Sessions: Justice 2021

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Get ready to engage in essential conversations about some of the most important issues facing the tech industry — diversity, equity, inclusion and labor. TC Sessions: Justice 2021 — a day-long virtual symposium — begins tomorrow, March 3, and we’re here to highlight just a few of the powerful people, presentations and fireside chats you won’t want to miss.

Hold up — if you don’t have a ticket yet, secure your seat here.

You’ll hear from top experts, leading voices and social justice warriors — from the tech industry and beyond. It’s a highly interactive day, and the virtual platform lets you engage in the conversations, ask questions and connect with participants around the world.

Here are just a few of tomorrow’s compelling presentations and exciting events. You’ll find a complete listing of the day’s programming in the event agenda.

Creating Equity in Tech with Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA): When it comes to myths, lack of tech diversity as a “pipeline problem” is a whopper. Don’t miss our discussion with Congresswoman Lee, California’s East Bay representative, about the opportunities to create an equal playing field in tech so that underrepresented investors, founders, designers and coders can reap the benefits.

Fireside Chat – Diversity Is More Than Hiring People of Color: It may appear that the country is accepting change — from racial diversity to equality in the workplace. However, we still have ways to go. For example, organizational diversity is still about hiring from diverse talent pools. However, activating the full potential of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) requires more than a “people strategy.” Robust and sustainable work in this area requires embedding DEI principles, policies, systems and practices into all parts of the business, including the employee and customer experience, brand culture and overall industry/corporate citizenship. Sponsored by Onshape.

Pitch Feedback: Join us for a pitch feedback session for select TC Include founders exhibiting at TC Sessions: Justice 2021 and moderated by TechCrunch staff.

Access All Areas – Designing Accessibility From Day One: This session examines the importance of ensuring accessible product design from the beginning. We’ll ask how the social and medical models of disability influence technological evolution. Integrating the expertise of disabled technologists, makers, investors, scientists and software engineers into your company’s DNA from the very beginning is vital to the pursuit of a functioning and equitable society. And could mean you don’t leave money on the table.

That’s just a tiny taste of what to expect tomorrow at TC Sessions: Justice 2021. Grab a pass, check the agenda, plan your day accordingly and join us for the important work of creating a more diverse, inclusive and equitable tech industry.

Checkout PrimeXBT
Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/03/02/what-to-expect-tomorrow-at-tc-sessions-justice-2021/

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