This African company went from a startup to generating $2.8m in revenue in just two years

Abu Mubarik April 05, 2023
Julian Lotanna Co-Founder & CEO, Advancly. Photo credit: Julian Lotanna (Instagram)

Lotanna Julian is the founder and CEO of Advancly, a Business to Business (B2B) lender that provides credit-for-scale to creditworthy businesses in Africa and emerging markets. Despite being a B2B lender, the company adopts the Business to Business for Communities/Customers (B2B4C) model.

According to the CEO, adopting the B2B4C model means that the company does not only serve businesses but also the people these businesses serve. He notes that the move is to break down the barriers that are hindering people’s ability to access credit-for-scale.

“The biggest example of this is that we have an unconventional approach to securing our funds, making it possible for creditworthy businesses, even those in very early stages, to meet our requirements to access credit,” he told Business Insider.

From a startup, Julian has grown the company to a $2.8m revenue-generating business in just two years. The entrepreneur achieved this success in a very challenging era, where the global economy had taken a major hit due to the pandemic. Nonetheless, Advancly withstood the pandemic-induced challenges, achieving a 400% growth in income from the previous year and disbursing over $33m to MSMEs in Africa & Emerging Markets.

Hitting $2.8 million in revenue did not come easy for Julian as he faced some challenges, including a lack of education about debt and how to use debt to grow.

“People are scared of debt and are reluctant to take it because they view it as inherently bad, so we’ve had to do a lot of education about how debt can be an instrument for growth, as long as they’re responsible borrowers taking credit from responsible lenders,” he said.

Also, another challenge he faced is the lack of adequate data to credit score people/businesses. He explained that the credit system in Africa is not developed as compared to the Western world.

“The data penetration for credit bureaus and agencies is not as robust as it should be, so we’ve built our own models and gathered our own data that enables us to credit score businesses from scratch,” he adds.

Julian says he is looking forward to injecting $500m in debt into creditworthy MSMEs in Africa and Emerging Markets by 2026. 

“We like to say that we are building the rail tracks to deliver a more modern and robust financial ecosystem to Africa and emerging markets,” he said. “The lending gap is currently extremely wide, so even as we are working to close it, we are also providing technology, platforms, and data that will enable others to work to close it as well.”

So far, Advancly has partnered to inject capital into well-known brand names in Africa, including MarketForce & LipaLater, Sabi, and Credpal & Sytiamo. According to Julian, the ultimate goal of his company is to create a more robust financial ecosystem where borrowers have more options to access credit beyond banks and traditional financial institutions.

Last Edited by:Annie-Flora Mills Updated: April 5, 2023


Must Read

Connect with us

Join our Mailing List to Receive Updates