Rwanda’s Exuus Secures USD 50K from Leapfrog Ventures
By Rolex Owino
Exuus, a Rwandan micro-lending platform that is looking to break new ground in the area of offering credit facilities to unbanked individuals in Rwanda and other neighbouring countries – has benefited from an investment valued at USD 50K from Japanese investment firm, Leapfrog Ventures.
As spelt-out in a press release issued by the Japanese investment firm, the start-up, 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 services, a feature called ‘SAVE,’- a wallet service and credit-lending platform for unbanked communities in rural Rwanda. With the latest investment, Exuus now appears to be well-placed to fulfil its plans of expanding into other neighbouring countries, such as – Kenya, Uganda and Zambia.
“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 gleaned from the press release.
Preliminary studies conducted by the start-up 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 (SSA) 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 lending and borrowing, Exuus also incorporates a model which allows such groups to raise money from external sources like financial institutions through the sharing of gathered data. Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) are also not left out, as they can leverage the data when striving to determine the different variations of aid needed in particular regions of the globe.
The SAVE feature also allows collaborations with banks, with an objective of reaching low-income potential customers, and exploring their credit needs. The platform enables banks to more seamlessly access these vital sets of information and requirements, while eliminating the costly needs of establishing branches and/or rolling-out ATMs – in low-income population areas.
“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,” stated Takuma Terakubo, Leapfrog Ventures CEO. He continued to state that: “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 channelling efforts towards triggering further investments into a number of other promising start-ups within the Sub-Saharan African (SSA) region.
Source: African Strategic-Ventures (ASV) & Weetracker.