Exuus, a Rwandan micro-lending platform that is looking to break new grounds in the area of offering credit facilities to unbanked individuals in Rwanda and other neighboring countries, has benefited from an investment valued at USD 50 K from Japanese investment firm, Leapfrog Ventures.
As spelled out in a press release issued by the Japanese firm, the startup which was established in 2014 by Shema Steve, a graduate of the National University of Rwanda who now doubles as its Founder and CEO, has been making significant strides in the aspect of making credit available to individuals who do not have a formal credit history in parts of rural Rwanda and beyond.
Exuus offers amongst other things, a feature called ‘SAVE,’ which is a wallet service and credit lending platform for unbanked communities in rural Rwanda. With the latest investment, Exuus now appears well-placed to bring its plans of expanding into other neighboring countries like Kenya, Uganda, and Zambia to fruition.
“In East Africa including Rwanda, community-based savings groups have been appearing all across the region. Having digital technology adopted by these groups enables SAVE group members to invest using mobile devices, as well as to borrow money from lending services by leveraging the credit-scoring feature,” said the Exuus Chief, as culled from the press release.
Preliminary studies conducted by the startup suggest that there are as many as 36,571 savings groups in Rwanda alone. And in addition to Rwanda, plans are also in the pipeline to delve into other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa with a sizeable population of unbanked and low-income individuals.
Besides objectively monitoring the credit scores of individuals with a view to helping savings groups keep tabs of the lending and borrowing, Exuus also incorporates a model which allows such groups to raise money from external sources like financial institutions through sharing of the data gathered. Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are also not left out as they can leverage the data when trying to determine what kind of aid is most needed in a particular region.
The SAVE feature also allows collaborations with banks with a view to reaching out to potential customers and exploring credit needs. The platform makes all these possible for banks while eliminating any need to establish branches or roll out ATMs in low-income population areas, something these financial institutions might not want to do because of the cost implications.
“The business of individual lending is growing in Africa, and this led to the investment into Exuus. Although most lending business models often prove flawed and defective in rural areas, there is something unique and extraordinary about the Co-Wallet for both cooperative and group systems which the SAVE platform brings,” reckoned Takuma Terakubo, CEO of Leapfrog Ventures, concerning the investment. “With the current business model, we should see a data platform of over 70% of people who live in rural areas and have benefited from SAVE in the near future.”
The Japanese investment firm is also currently believed to be exploring other opportunities and channeling efforts towards triggering further investments in a number of other promising startups within the region.
Image source: Exuus via Facebook