At Lulalend we’re passionate about serving small business. It’s what our technology is built for as we strive to provide customers with fast, easy access to funding. We provide a solution that welcomes them into financial inclusion. This forms part of our core values and plays a significant role in the way we serve our customers and shape our product offerings.
Trevor Gosling, Co-founder and CEO of Lulalend, along with Neil Welmann, Co-founder and CTO, have built the company on this principle and a couple of core values. To understand who Lulalend is, what we do, why we do it and what’s important to us we wanted to share these company values with you below.
At Lulalend we:
Are passionate about helping SMEs succeed. We hold to the promise of making financial credit easily available to SMEs in South Africa. We are convinced of the positive impact financial inclusion can have on our economy and aim to be the solution to a great need. We do this by providing small businesses with the opportunity to grow and progress through financial access.
Believe in responsible lending. While we want businesses to receive funding so that they can flourish, we do not compromise when it comes to responsible lending. We aim to solve the problem of access and aid success not hinder it.
Strive to offer an unbeatable customer experience. We offer a full range of support services both online and offline. We give our customers the chance to do things themselves through our user-friendly, online application process but aren’t afraid to get stuck in and lend a hand through our live, responsive offline support channels.
Work hard and play hard. We’re gung-ho about employees who are passionate about solving for the customer. We celebrate our success and that of our customers, admire passion, invite innovative thinking, respect hard-work, encourage initiative and expect everyone to take responsibility. We also like banter and beer and know how to kick back after a good day of business. We strive to leave each work day feeling good about what we’ve achieved and excited to come back the next day and do it all over again.
Value humility and teachability. We favour humility and confidence over swagger, and don’t pretend to know it all. We’re not afraid to fail in order to achieve. We are willing to learn from each other and practice shared knowledge and collaboration. When we don’t know, we ask. When we’re not sure, we go and find the answer.
Embrace technology. We want to make things quicker and easier and acknowledge that technology is a tool to help us achieve this.
Communicate openly. We cultivate open channels of communication and transparency.
Prefer good judgement over red-tape. We don’t have a lot of policies or strict, rigid processes. But we’re serious about integrity and doing the right thing. We trust our employees and believe that if they are making decisions that favour our customers, the company and the team over their own interest, they are keeping in step with our core beliefs.
About our partner program
Lulalend’s Partner program is designed to acknowledge those companies who have worked hard to established a brand, execute their business offerings with the highest standards and bring value to their customers. We offer the Partner program to those who wish to continue to delight their customers by offering Lulalend’s funding products to help them grow their business.
We want to provide an extraordinary partner program by being a partner you can trust; a partner that can help bring you further business revenue and a partner that’s committed to providing your customers with fast, easy access to funding. Our success is mutually dependent on all our partners. Our partners are an extension of our business – together we can serve local SMEs with a unique lending experience while you earn commission.
About our technology
Lulalend has developed a proprietary credit rating algorithm that uses traditional credit rating methods as well as advanced data analysis on company banking and transaction history to provide an accurate decision on a funding application. The decision process is fully automated and is done in real-time (dependent on all required info being available).
Integrating with our platform allows you to offer funding to your customers in a risk-free manner and generate a revenue stream from commission on successful advancements. Various levels of integration are available, involving various levels of tech investment.
Integrating with Lulalend
Integration involves a tech investment and your development resource might not always be available. We offer integration requiring various levels of tech involvement so you can choose to get up and running as soon as possible and then move on to a deeper integration with your platform over time. Below are our partner tiers for a better understanding of the various levels available.
1. Standard partner level
Your company may have transactional or other data from your customer that you know is valuable. Our standard partner level allows you to put this to good use without sharing any of your customer’s personal information with us. We expose an API which allows you to send us their transactional data so we can use it in our funding analysis. This data is important to us as it offers important insight into the applicant’s business health and increases the chances of a successful funding application.
For this level of integration, you receive a unique apply link and expose this link to your customer base. The application process is performed on our site when a customer clicks through via this link. When we receive the application, we send you a message requesting the transactional data for the applicant. You then call our API to return the transactional data so that we can use this in our analysis. You may choose to offer the unique apply link behind your authorisation (i.e. for users who are logged-in to your system) so that you could pass a unique identifier over to us which we would then use for the data request.
The level of tech required:
- You send us transactional data via our API when requested
- You expose simple functionality to allow us to request data and push notifications to you on status and progress of applications (this is optional)
- Funding application is performed on our end
2. Advanced partner level
This is the deepest level of integration. We expose an API that allows an application to be submitted. This allows the application to be performed entirely on your platform (i.e. using the customer info you already have and with your own branding). You then submit the completed application to us and we take the process forward from there. We notify you of all progress, updates, and decision in real time.
The level of tech required:
- Simple implementation by you to allow us to push notifications and status updates
- Customer application is performed on your end, and you submit the application via our API
- You send us transactional data via our API when we request through a push notification
“Our partner program is designed to be simple and profitable for our partners and their customers.”
In an article by the Mail & Guardian at the end of 2016 they stated that: “If you were a coffee snob on a road trip in South Africa 10 years ago, you would have faced long stretches of drought. You would have been miserably beverage-less in much of the Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and Limpopo, only adequately catered for in Jo’burg and Durban, and greeted by a few fledgeling coffee roasteries in Cape Town.” This is no longer the case thanks to businesses like Cape Coffee Beans.
South Africa has seen a growing number of coffee-orientated businesses pop up over the last few years. With what started off as just a spattering of good quality roasters, coffee shops have risen as a niche in the restaurant business and the consumption of coffee in emerging markets has increased rapidly. According to an Insight Survey Report, in 1993 traditional markets consumed 67% of the world’s coffee, while emerging markets consumed 12%. Twenty years later, traditional markets consume 50% and emerging markets consume 19%.
It’s out of this context that Cape Coffee Beans began to grow into a leading online store. They provide access to fresh coffee beans, and the necessary coffee apparatus to make a good cup of joe, to every corner of South Africa. Our urban city centers are no longer the only places privy to good coffee – Phaedon Gourtsoyannis, founder of Cape Coffee Beans, has helped make sure of this. He has taken his eCommerce experience and combined it with his love for coffee to create a prosperous and ever popular online coffee store
As Cape Coffee Beans grew in popularity Phaedon knew that while he was meeting the need for accessibility to good quality products he needed to continue to improve the convenience of that access. It was at this point that he reached out to Lulalend for funding so that he could invest properly in coffee equipment inventory to dispatch orders to customers quicker, and provide a better customer experience.
At first he approached traditional lenders like banks, but despite a positive credit rating it was next to impossible to get an overdraft as a foreign national and the company’s director. Banks require business owners to hold a South African ID and there isn’t any easy solution to getting around this requirement. When business decisions need to be made quickly and action is required immediately, trying to jump through hoops before the bank will extend access to credit can be a huge cost to business growth.
Phaedon soon became aware that Lulalend’s desire is to help small businesses prosper across South Africa by providing access to funding. With our easy online application process and fast access to business funding Phaedon has been able to make business decisions that have had him see an 87% year on year growth since becoming a Lulalend client.
“Lulalend not only made it possible for me to get access to the funding I needed for inventory purchases but their application process was easy and uncomplicated. It is completely online so I could do it from anywhere at any time and it took me no more than 10 minutes. A response to my application was also remarkably quick and I received the funding I needed within 24 hours – that’s unheard of with traditional lenders.” Phaedon Gourtsoyannis, Founder of Cape Coffee Beans
Phaedon’s first credit facility went straight into purchasing inventory, which helped Cape Coffee Beans over a busy December period. Since then Lulalend has become working capital finance for Cape Coffee Beans. The business takes out a new credit agreement at the beginning of each month to ‘refinance’ and uses Lulalend’s funding as an overdraft of sorts. With the successful repayment of each advance, Cape Coffee Beans are able to obtain a better funding cost as their credit profile with Lulalend improves.
To learn more about Cape Coffee Beans visit their website here: www.capecoffeebeans.co.za
As we’ve mentioned before, SMEs are the lifeblood of the South African economy – providing for over 60% of employment across the country. But it’s not easy being a small business and trying to grow when there are constant hurdles that you have to navigate around.
According to a recent report commissioned by The Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) one of the many challenges, and probably the biggest of all, is access to finances and credit.
The struggle has always been that traditional lenders are risk averse and the reality is that small business are a high risk. Because of their cautious attitude, when it comes to small businesses banks are unwilling to meet the demand for access to finances – even with evidence of a good track-record on the part of the business. More so than this, fair finance isn’t always easy to come by. There are hidden costs, high-interest rates, increasing supplier rates and penalty fees involved across a lot of the financial services market.
There are plenty of challenges stacked against SMEs but this is often the start of a domino effect. The thing that most people forget is that many of the businesses across this sector not only positively affect our economy but they are often the only source of income for business owners and their employees. The stakes are high for them as individuals. It’s a brave move to start and run your own business and sometimes there is no other option. Either way, it takes resilience, the challenges are relentless and there is constant pressure.
As the FinTech space has opened up in the South African market it has provided businesses with alternative finance options in order to build their business. FinTech is confronting the issue of accessible financial options and are providing more alternatives that will undoubtedly play a significant role in the growth of this sector. These companies have come in swinging – challenging the status quo and differentiating themselves through a fairer finance approach. They recognize that SMEs don’t have the same advantages that large, established organisations have so they meet SMEs where they are at by understanding where they are coming from.
Here’s our list of some of the options you can turn to for fairer finance options as an SME:
We had a chance to hear from Yoco CEO, Katlego Maphai at a recent FinTech event in Cape Town. Not only is he a dynamic speaker but he’s built a company that is technology-driven and customer-centric. Merchants know that if you don’t accept card payments these days you’re losing out on business. Yoco’s mobile point of sale app and card acceptance solution is easy to use and doesn’t come with all those monthly rental and admin fees that traditional card machines come with.
These guys aren’t new to most people. They’ve done a stellar job at building a faithful following because they offer an easy mobile payment option for small businesses and consumers. Using your mobile device to scan a QR code you can make a quick transaction without ever reaching for your wallet or swiping your bank card.
If the tax return season fills you or your company with dread, you should look into TaxTim – a digital tax assistant who helps you to better understand tax requirements and based on answers to a few questions completes your tax return form instantly. They take the sting out of the tax process and make it manageable and a lot less intimidating.
Is a mobile and web app that helps individuals manage their finances all in one place. By linking all your bank accounts, store accounts, investments, and loans 22Seven helps you keeps track of your transactions and budget. It gives you an honest view about where you spend your money and helps you make the changes you need to save money. This app is not only great for the individual but for the small business owner to get a view of where and how their business is spending money.
PayFast is a payments processing service for South Africans and South African websites. With a strong focus on eCommerce, PayFast enables easy, secure and instant transfer for money from online buyers to sellers. They work with a number of eCommerce platforms to enable easy payment methods on their sites.
With most people in Africa having better access to a mobile device than to financial services Jumo facilitates access to finances through a mobile wallet. They help to present people, and small businesses, with great savings and borrowing choices from banks.
These guys make contactless payments and withdrawals possible via a GeoTeller. It’s an online, fast and easy way to deposit or withdraw cash and makes these transactions possible across borders. It’s one of the easiest ways to deposit, withdraw, send money or make a payment.
The challenge for many SMEs is getting credit from traditional lenders. Lulalend provides an online, automated application process for funding that is quick and easy. Based on unique scoring technology businesses can have access to funding within 24 hours of applying. With access online and the speed at which the funds are made available, Lulalend has established itself as South Africa’s only online small business lending platform.
More and more opportunities for funding, payment options, mobile wallets and tax assistance are becoming available to SMEs across South Africa and the continent of Africa. It is a huge leap for businesses who haven’t always had the opportunities to receive help through more traditional means. We hope to see more small businesses around the country and beyond grow and expand as a result of FinTech innovation making accessibility an opportunity.
There are overwhelming statistics that show that small businesses (also known as SMEs, SMBs or SMMEs) contribute between 51 and 57 percent to the GDP and 60 percent of employment in South Africa. (Kongolo, 2010) There’s no denying – SMEs play a crucial role in developing countries with major employment and income distribution challenges. This is particularly true in South Africa. (more…)