Last month, the announcement of Lidya as Nigeria’s first digital bank took many people by surprise.
While founders of Lidya have only provided top line information, the discussion on how, when and the impact the company is expecting to have on the market has not gotten to the front burner.
Raising Funds For Lidya
First is the how its founders would likely raise the needed cash? Lidya founders- Tunde Kehinde and Ercin Eksin told Bloomberg in New York that they are already in talks with investors who will back the new venture. It could be recalled that in mid February, the duo did raised USD850k for their first company ACE Logistics from Interswitch Group through its USD2.6 million ePayment Growth Fund.
The probability that ACE Logistics might be using part of the cash to kickstart Lidya is high. Interswitch might also be investing more to get a bigger equity in Lidya while it is still cheap to buy.
ACE also handles logistics for GTBank PLC, Interswitch, fast food companies and other financial services providers. Tunde and Ercin might be selling some stake financial services companies and or some principal officers who might be interested in the business due to the fact the founders of Lidya are running ACE profitably. In a recent disclosure, ACE said it has delivered packages to over 100,000 customers across Nigeria.
How will Lidya Work?
The another fuzzy part of the Lidya phenomenon is how it will operate. On the face value, its fouders said it is a digital bank that will provide micro loans to small businesses and individuals. However, a trip to Liya’s website gives a relatively different impression about what it services it will offer.
No doubt about it, Lidya will be into financial services, the branding and copy on its site- Lidya.co depicts a business to business financial services broker and enterprise software. Lidya would likely be a broker standing in-between big banks, regional and micro-finance banks to facilitate access to micro-credits to its customers who register and apply through Lidya.
ACE already has a massive ton of data about many small business owners in the retails, manufacturing and services sector. This is a veritable prospecting base for Lidya to thrive on.
Moreover, Lidya will not be running a monopoly, there are many indirect providers of this sort of services. The company would have to really streamline its services to create a niche and dominate it in order for it to own such positioning.