Techstars-backed Oystr Finance wants to offer 750 million African adults a path to quick credit

Dennis Da-ala Mirilla
Techstars-backed Oystr Finance wants to offer 750 million African adults a path to quick credit

Oystr Finance is one of the startups that were part of the ARM Labs Lagos Techstars Accelerator Program inaugural cohorts that had its demo day last week.

Founded by Ifedolapo Lawal, Olusola Onajobi and Omotayo Iginla, Oystr Finance says that its goal is to “democratise credit in Africa.” Over the years, startups across Nigeria have been looking for ways to begin creating credit scores for Nigerians, a country that is not used to stable institutionalised credit systems.

Oystr Finance is one of these companies offering paths to attaining credit scores to Nigerians, except its focus is on small-scale entrepreneurs looking to launch new products for their customers. “The company is promising quick loans. The company provides lenders with an infrastructure to help them launch low-risk micro-loan products, grow their portfolios and expand into new markets in less than 30 minutes,” informational material from Techstars reads.

The company’s goal is to build a credit system for Africans, enabling them access to credit products. Already companies offering this type of credit that Oystr seeks to accelerate by providing credit scores, Autochek, Kesa Africa etc., are operational, clearing the path for the success of Oystr.

“In another five years Oystr will become the fico score of Africa,” the co-founder of Oystr, Ifedolapo Lawal told Technext recently.

A FICO score is a credit score created by the Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO). Lenders then use borrowers’ FICO scores and other details on borrowers’ credit reports to assess credit risk and determine whether to extend credit.

This enables credit companies to assess the risk of offering certain loans to certain customers. A customer, for instance, without a credit score looking to buy products on credit or via a pay small-small plan has to either get a cosigner with a credit score or lose access to the product they intend to own.

Techstars-backed Oystr Finance wants to offer 750 million African adults a path to quick credit

Credit teetotalers must begin by buying low-risk products with low-interest rates, like a phone, as they accumulate a credit score. The goal, Lawal says, is that she can give the millions of Africans without a credit score pathways to meet lenders. And also help lenders launch lower-risk credit products because data on the customer’s behaviour has been provided.

Oystr’s unique offering

“We are solving the problem of the credit gap in Africa,” the executive said. “There are still over 750 million adults that are left out of the credit system due to lack of financial data, credit history and identity. Lenders can’t extend credit facilities to them,” she added.

“So on our platform, lenders are able to get to people at the bottom of the pyramid to easily launch low rick micro-loan products to extend credit to them.

But the path will not be without some rocky mountains. As Oystr Finance looks to scale, Lawal said it has been a hassle finding the right culture-fit talent to implement the strategy for growth.

“Building in this market, which is Africa, we face the whole problem of hiring, getting the right fit, putting culture in place, structure,” she said.

But she is not deterred by that. Oystr Finance is trying to raise, having come out of the ARM Labs Lagos Techstars Accelerator Program last week. Already she had pitched to investors during the demo day.

Techstars-backed Oystr Finance wants to offer 750 million African adults a path to quick credit

“We are looking to raise funds and scale up,” she said. But she still will need to meet other investors and take multiple meetings till she finds a partnership that works for both parties. And then, she has to continue the process till she has enough money to orchestrate the immediate scaling that Oystr Finance needs.


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