Fresh off securing a $2 million investment from financial services group FlexiGroup last week, Perth fintech startup Kikka Capital has appointed Justin Mannolini, former executive director at Macquarie Capital, to its board.
Mannolini was a founding investor in the startup, an online lender providing small businesses with loans of up to $100,000. He will serve as chairman, tasked with helping Kikka to identify and secure key opportunities to grow the brand and platform.
“The online business lending market took about five years to reach maturity in the US. In Australia it has taken about 18 months to get to that same stage. At Kikka, we believe that as alternative lending platforms begin to mature and demonstrate predictable outcomes, financiers in the Australian market will likewise become more comfortable with the asset class and local capital will begin to mobilise,” he said.
“Growth of alternative lending will be a great outcome not just for the sector, but for Australia as a whole, as SMEs will gain greater access to the capital they need to grow. I look forward to working with the Kikka Capital team and to realising this vision.”
Joining Macquarie Group in 2013, Mannolini was responsible for cross-industry coverage of the Western Australian market within Macquarie Capital, the investment banking division. Prior to that he was a managing director of Gresham Advisory Partners and a partner in the mergers and acquisitions group of law firm Freehills.
Kikka founder David Brennan said Mannolini’s experience will help the startup transition into its next growth phase.
“After a highly successful first half year in the market, with Justin on board, we are now scaling up Kikka Capital to become a major playing in the disruptive online business lending market in Australia,” he said.
“With momentum clearly building in the alternative finance sector, we are confident of our ability to achieve further significant breakthroughs in the funding, development and distribution of our products, and look forward to a very busy six months ahead.”
Momentum is indeed building for the sector and Kikka itself, which in March this year partnered with Qantas through Aquire, the airline rewards program for small to medium businesses. Through this partnership Aquire members are able to earn 10,000 reward points of eligible loans of $10,000 or more.
It then last week secured $2 million in funding from FlexiGroup, who agreed to acquire a minority equity interest in Kikka with an option to increase investment in the future, while Kikka will have the opportunity to leverage FlexiGroup’s existing network to drive more rapid loan growth across its online distribution channels.
The partnership deal will see Kikka’s white label model expand to FlexiGroup’s existing and new customers: FlexiGroup has a network of over 16,000 merchant, vendor, and retail partners in four key market areas that include B2B, B2C, retail to consumer, and online.
It has also partnered with eWay and the Small Business Association of Australia.
Image: David Brennan. Source: Supplied.