Social Lender is a lending solution based on social reputation on mobile, online and social media platforms. The solution is designed to bridge the gap of immediate fund access for people with limited access to formal credit. In this interview with Innovation Village, Mudiaga Ogboru, Product Owner, takes us on a trip into the world of Social Lender’s Lending Solutions, it’s unique offerings and the amazing achievements recorded so far.

Can you tell us something on the background of Social Lender?

We have two Founders aside from the Senior team at Social Lender. Faith Adesemowo is currently the CEO and Co-founder of Social Lender. She has over 7 years experience in Sales and Investment Banking at BGL Plc with an MBA in view at the Warwick Business School.

Bade Adesemowo in his case won the Future Awards 2010 for Best Use of Technology, an acknowledgement as a young rising star in Sub-Saharan Africa. He is Co Founder & CTO – over 15 years experience in Technology . He has an  MBA from the LBS.

Social Lender launched officially in 2015 after a POC with Sterling Bank in 2014. It was launched to give access to financial institutions and banks to be able to reach certain demography of people who otherwise will not have access to funds.

What does Social have to offer?

Social Lender is a lending solution based on social reputation on mobile, online and social media platforms.

The solution is designed to bridge the gap of immediate fund access for people with limited access to formal credit. Social Lender uses its own proprietary algorithm to perform a social audit of the user on social media, online and other related platforms and gives a Social Reputation Score to each user. Loans are guaranteed by the user’s social profile and network allowing users to then borrow from banks and other financial institutions based on their social reputation.

Social Lender is patent-pending and licensed to financial institutions in the countries of operation.

What motivated the setting up of Social Lender?

We saw a major need in our environment that we could solve. There is so much a simple access to formal credit – (like in the west with credit cards) can do for our society.  We were uniquely positioned to solve the need.

Social Lender was started to solve the problem of accessibility to funds for the general African community. Social Lender leverages on the vast information available about any individual based on natural interactions on Social Networks and the person’s entire network and digital fingerprint.

What is unique about the services the platform has to offer?

Social Lender depends on the User’s Social Reputation Score computed by a proprietary algorithm. Also Social Reputation Score can be improved by providing more information. For example, Social Reputation Score is improved by the introduction of Social Guarantor who provide electronic personal guarantee on the personality of the borrower or the transaction.

How does work Social Lender?

In 3 easy steps, users are able to get Quick Cash from Social Lender.  Quick Cash loans are guaranteed by the User’s Social Reputation.

Step 1 : Connect at or Co-branded Partner specific URLs. At this stage, a Social Audit is conducted on the User (with User’s permission) and the User obtains a Social Reputation Score based on their digital fingerprint.

Step 2 : Apply for Cash when Needed

Once registered, Users can apply for cash using any of the available channels in Social Lender. Some of the Channels currently available includes: Web, SMS, USSD, Mobile App (Partner Add-on & Dedicated Apps), ATM, API and Pay with Social Lender (E-commerce Checkout).

Step 3 : Approval & Receive Cash

Once approved based on partner specific business rules, funds is disbursed to the user’s verified Account (Bank Account or Mobile Money Account) usually within 10 minutes.

Social Lender uses its algorithm to perform a social audit of the user to determine his /her social reputation. This reputation is scored and enables user’s access to loans amounts depending on their score.

What were the challenges encountered and achievements recorded so far since Social Lender launched?

Basically,getting the needed awareness and passing the message across, which is expected as Social Lender is a growing brand.

What are the achievements recorded so far?
Aside, from our rapid growth and over 15,000 users, we have also won a number of awards with our partner banks. The most recent being the Gartner Eye of Innovation Award for Barclays Bank in South Africa (ABSA) for Most Innovative Digital Business Model as a result of partnership with Social Lender. Also, we currently operate in Nigeria, South Africa with prospects across Africa.  We have also been able to forge great partnership with financial institutions: Sterling Bank ( Nigeria ) & ABSA Bank (Barclays Bank, South Africa) and we have less than 4% bad debt.

What are the future plans for Social Lender?
We are building a social network for trust, credit & much more.  We are in search of strategic partners who can help accelerate our growth while we in turn deliver value based on our unique value proposition and strong network. Some of our areas of focus include:

International Opportunities: Besides our aggressive expansion drive in Nigeria, we intend to expand to other countries  especially in Africa,

Strategic Partnership: Building new strategic partners in various countries of operation,

Technology: We are constantly carrying out research, improving our machine learning and upgrading the platform to further improve its performance and its ability to predict ability and willingness to repay small loans. We are currently in a fund raising round.

What advice do you have for prospective entrepreneurs out there?

Nothing ever comes easy, as handwork and consistency are the major keys to success.