“It’s just more difficult than it has to be,” Tunde Kehinde, co-founder and CEO of Lidya, laments when discussing the hurdles that their customers face launching and running their small businesses in Nigeria. The son of entrepreneurs in Lagos, he saw early on how challenging it is to start your own enterprise and find the funding you need to grow it. Now as Tunde follows in his parents’ entrepreneurial footsteps, he is using fintech to help other businesses succeed. In this episode of VentureKast, the podcast about the most innovative and impactful financial inclusion startups in the world, Tunde sits down with our host Vikas Raj to talk about Lidya, building startups, and the future for fintech in Nigeria.
Based in Lagos, Nigeria, Lidya gives small business owners access to the working capital they need to expand their operations and create jobs. By filling out a simple online form and submitting invoices, business owners can apply for a loan, get approval, and receive financing within a single day. Unlike traditional lenders or banks, Lidya’s tech platform is able to analyze as many as 100 data points per applicant to make a reliable lending decision quickly.
Launching Lidya in Nigeria was an easy decision for Tunde. “If you’re thinking about building X, Y, Z of the future, Nigeria, Africa is the place to go,” he explains. Nigeria is a young and growing country with a small business credit gap estimated at US$30 billion. While there’s an explosion of entrepreneurs launching promising enterprises and serving customer needs in every sector — these businesses can’t reach their full potential without consistent access to finance. The market is ripe for smart solutions that will support entrepreneurs and encourage job growth.
But for Tunde, success is about more than creating a profitable business — it’s about building a brighter future. “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, not just to have an impact, to help these countries move forward in terms of infrastructure, access to finance, creating jobs…you can more or less build the future,” he says.