“We use our own formula for calculating risk and approving loans, which involves data science, artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies. This enables us to assess a customer’s credit worthiness instantly. A key element of Julla is speed and convenience for the customer,” chief executive officer (CEO) Yele Oyekola told Disrupt Africa.
Julla aims to appeal to two sets of people – consumers who want a specific item instantly but with more control and flexibility in paying for it over time, and online and in-store merchants, who want to increase sales and customer traction. It came about when Oyekola was trying to move house in Nairobi, and found there was no easy way of securing product financing. Julla was formed in January with the thesis that it could completely automate the PoS financing process and build a company that puts the customer first.
“We noticed that PoS financing, which should be as simple and seamless as possible, was inaccessible, inefficient and expensive,” Oyekola said. “We believe that the customer comes first, simple is better, and transparency is key.”
Funded by angel investors and currently raising a pre-seed round, Julla plans to partner local banks interested in financing its loan portfolio later this year. Until now, it has been piloting the product with selected merchants, with Oyekola saying it had been “greatly surprised” at the response. The startup has a dual revenue model, charging merchants a transaction fee and customers a monthly interest rate.
“We are launching in Kenya, but this is an African problem and solution. We have plans to expand rapidly across the continent once we have a solid footing in Kenya,” he said.