Lending startup Moula, which provides small businesses with up to $250,000 in loans based on their data, has today announced the addition of Chris Ridd, former managing director of Xero, to its board as it gears up for growth.
Moula cofounder Aris Allegos said having someone of Ridd’s calibre on the board is a “tremendous boon” to Moula.
“He has a genuine talent and a passion for this space. He ‘gets’ small businesses and the challenges they face and is a huge advocate for what Moula is trying to achieve — to help Australian SMEs grow via a simple loan application that is fast, affordable and responsible,” he said.
Chris Ridd added, “There is an opportunity to help support the continued success of small businesses. Lending based on the strength of accounting data is a unique point of differentiation in the market, and one that is the way of the future for finance-as-a-service.”
The announcement comes as Moula, which last year raised $30 million in funding and was named an emerging star in the latest Fintech 100 report from H2 Ventures and Stone and Chalk, also released new findings from its Disruption Index, developed in conjunction with consulting firm Digital Finance Analytics.
The findings show the number of data-approved loan applicants has doubled over the last year as more small and medium businesses become comfortable with providing their banking and accounting data to access unsecured finance, as well as the fact SMEs expect faster approval times, with the average expected wait time down from 7.5 days to 6.5 days over the last year.
“The Disruption Index indicates a significant shift in the way SMEs expect to access finance, and there is a huge opportunity to help SMEs grow through accessible finance that is based on a thoroughly transparent, data-driven approach,” Allegos said.
“Small business owners know that to survive in business you need to meet customer expectations. We live in an age of instantaneous transactions with the increasing availability of data at our fingertips. This means that the pace of business has increased exponentially and in line with that, so too have customer expectations. The lending space is no different.”
This is clear in the rise of the number of lending services over the last year; perhaps one of the most similar to Moula is German-founded Spotcap, which launched locally in May 2015, announced on its first birthday in Australia that it had lent out $11 million to small businesses.
The likes of TruePillars, Skippr, MoneyPlace, and Neu.Capital, meanwhile, take different approaches to the space, though all are looking to help SMEs access financing.
With the growing competition in the space, Moula will be well-served by Ridd, who joins Allegos and fellow Moula cofounder Andrew Watt, Nathan Cher, and Liberty Financial managing director Sherman Ma on the startup’s board.
Image: Aris Allegos and Chris Ridd. Source: Supplied.