[Startup Interview] Rahmon Ojukotola, Founder, StartCredits, Nigeria
StartCredits is a Nigerian financial technology startup that is redefining borrowing by offering competitive terms that reduce interest rates while advancing transparency.
It works with microfinance firms, mortgage companies and registered moneylenders operating. It boasts of more than 10,000 monthly users saving money on loan products.
Rahmon Ojukotola, the founder spoke to Africa Business Communities about being at the forefront of redefining credit financing in Nigeria.
Introduce your company
StartCredits is a financial technology firm that helps Nigerians find loans and save money. We do this through our loan comparison and credit risk modelling.
StartCredits was incepted to disrupt traditional borrowing, as our product provides transparency and increases competition in the market to reduce interest rates for qualified borrowers. It also provides a new channel for Nigerians to borrow money.
Where is it located?
We are in Lagos Nigeria
When was the company founded and why?
The company was founded in 2016, but began operations in 2017 after the research and development phase.
How is it funded?
I initially bootstrapped the company with savings I had built up during my time working in the banking industry. I also raised funds from friends and family.
I decided to bootstrap because I wanted to launch without the delays associated with external seed funding and also because I felt my research could instantly contribute to the mission of promoting financial inclusion in Africa.
We are in talks with a number of tech focused VCs for the next round of funding.
What are your company’s unique selling points?
We are the first and only business in Nigeria offering our services. We have developed innovative proprietary risk models that accurately measure the borrowers’ probability of default. This improves loan providers’ ability to assess risk, and enables them to disperse more loans to qualified borrowers.
What is the long-term or 5 year plan for this idea?
StartCredits long-term plan is to revolutionize the way borrowing is done in Nigeria and then Africa through innovative technologies. We have helped thousands of Nigerians to save millions of naira in interest rate so far and hope to save billions of naira in the next 5 years.
The aim is to create a reliable and trustworthy platform for Nigerians to source funding for their business, education or personal needs.
How has the market responded to your services?
Nigeria’s entrepreneurial class has embraced our product with vigour since its launch as we know have over 10,000 monthly users saving money on loan products. Our free loan search engine enables users to find the best interest rates.
Who are your clients?
Our clients are the banks, microfinance firms, mortgage companies and registered moneylenders operating in Nigeria. Our credit risk models help banks and microfinance institutions to better assess risk, and hopefully disperse more loans to qualified individuals.
What are the changes your company has gone through since inception and what do they mean to the business?
We initially started solely building advanced credit risk models, but saw an opportunity to reach the borrowers directly through our loan comparison arm of the business. We also expanded into comparison of standardized investment products.
Have you been in any strategic partnership?
We have built partnerships with numerous higher learning institutions in Nigeria to enable the training and development of the future generation of data scientists in Nigeria.
How is competition in your industry and how do you weather it?
StartCredits is truly unique in its offerings to the Nigerian market; as such there are no direct competitors. The issue we do face is the education of both loan providers and borrowers to overcome their resistance to change and to understand the benefits of increased access to credit.
What can be expected of your company in 2018?
We expect the exponential growth we are experiencing to continue through to the end of the year. We also expect to contribute to the Central bank of Nigeria’s financial inclusion target for year-end.
What does your company need to grow and prosper?
We need to see a reduction in the cost of data for Nigerians to access the Internet. This limits the pace at which our potential users can reach our services
What is the latest news?
StartCredits recently launched a novel credit score model that enables Nigerians to improve their scores by reading educational articles and taking financial tests.
The SC score will prove their worthiness to lenders, help to reduce their predicted probability of default and give users access to more loans.
Who should contact your company and why?
Any Nigerians looking for a loan for education, business, accommodation etc., should contact StartCredits. And loan providers looking to expand their database of qualified borrowers should also contact StartCredits.