Founded in 2016, KiaKia, a trading name of KiaKia Bits Ltd, is a licensed non-banking financial technology company. One of Nigeria’s pioneer digital lenders and also the leading peer-to-peer marketplace, KiaKia offers secured and unsecured loans and also participates in well-structured profit-sharing business transactions. The Company focuses its efforts mostly on Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises with huge growth potentials, with no access to credit from traditional financial institutions. The co-founder, Chimezie Anyadike, spoke to The Podium Magazine’s Taiwo Adekanye in Abuja.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Chimeziem Anyadike. I am a graduate of Microbiology from Imo State University, Nigeria. I was a pioneer in the online betting industry some 12 years ago. I partnered with a friend who was a classmate back then, to develop one of Nigeria’s pioneer sports exchange/sports betting platforms. After four years, I relocated to Abuja upon my invitation by a player in the industry to help expand his sports betting business.
Afterward, I decided to look for new challenges, and that was when I came across Mr. Abiola’s page on Facebook. I noticed that we shared the same interests, values, ambition, and vision. This brought us together. He shared the idea of an online lending platform with me and I got interested in the amazing idea. I said to him, let’s do it! Thus we co-founded KiaKia.
When we started KiaKia, he was the solutions architect, and I was the material design engineer. That’s the user interface experience engineer. I was charged with building the interface so that people would engage with the design. He developed the entire logic and all of that. That was how we co-founded and pioneered one of Nigeria’s foremost online lending platforms. Here we are today, seven years after, still growing stronger and expanding other frontiers as well. Recently, I became the Chief Operating Officer of KiaKia and the Acting CEO.
Tell us more about KiaKia
KiaKia is a digital financial technology company that focuses on providing access to credit for MSMEs and Nigerians that need funds for financial resources to achieve their goals and needs. The slogan is “The Digital Financial Marketplace“. It was founded in 2016, but we launched beta (the prototype to test the market and get feedback from the public) in July 2016. We went into full operations in December of the same year. This is the seventh year in the business and it’s been a very huge experience for all of us. KiaKia was co-founded by Olajide Abiola who you have all been hearing about and whose story has been trending all over the internet.
What are the challenges confronting you?
The challenges are essentially what every other financial institution has faced. It has mostly been the capacity to expand to meet demands. Being one of the pioneers of the digital lending industry, we have grown to the point that it hasn’t been so easy to meet up with the demands of credible customers that we always get. These are customers that will want to utilize our system and our platform. So, that has been the major challenge, being able to meet up with the demands that we’ve been faced with. I can tell you confidently that up to this moment, it’s still a recurrent challenge for us and a major challenge too.
How would you compare your services with Microfinance banks?
Microfinance banks are financial institutions that are regulated and licensed by the CBN because they are deposit-taking institutions. That is, they take deposits from the public. They usually have a cap on the amount of money they can lend. KiaKia is a digital lending institution, a digitized money-lending, end-to-end platform that is regulated by the Money Lenders Act. The Money Lenders Act empowers only the State to license money lending and that is done through the magistrate court of every state. So, for you to lend in any state you must be licensed by the magistrate court of that state, and that is why KiaKia is licensed by the magistrate court of the FCT.
That is the major difference between KiaKia and the Microfinance banks. Microfinance banks are also limited by the credit they are meant to disburse to the public. The term Microfinance simply means micro-credit. This means that the credit they are meant to disburse to the public is limited. According to a CBN regulation that was released in late 2021, they are expected not to cross a threshold of N1m for a single debtor. But KiaKia is not bound by such restraint. KiaKia can do more than that. We can do as high as N100m or N500m provided we have the funds. That is the basic difference between Microfinance and KiaKia. Just like other banks, they are limited by MPR. They are not permitted to go above a certain threshold for interest rates. But KiaKia on the other hand is permitted by law to get to a certain upper benchmark that is way higher than what the Microfinance banks are permitted to do.
Another difference is that Microfinance banks take deposits from the public for lending but KiaKia does not do that. KiaKia is not a deposit-taking institution. Rather, a prospective customer in need of funds can access such online, and get funds after meeting the requirements. Once he/she meets the lending requirement, the fund is credited to his/her account within hours. The payment plan is also determined by the information the customer provides and by meeting certain requirements too. Usually, it is a 3-6 month payment plan.
Do you work with MSME and SMEDAN in providing these loans to your customers?
Generally, we work with independent MSMEs that probably have heard about KiaKia through word-of-mouth or through personal referrals or people that have used our services and were able to grow their businesses from point A to point B, and are still growing their businesses. It’s been word-of-mouth, referrals, and independent businesses that we work with. We would love to synergize with SMEDAN if the opportunity arises.
How do you intend to meet the rising daily demand on the lending platform?
Just as our business is growing, we are forming partnerships with deposit banks. We have partnered with one or two commercial banks and some Microfinance Banks for lending purposes. This has helped us to grow our portfolio and also grow their balance sheets as well. We have also partnered with insurance companies to lend to businesses and individuals to grow their businesses. These are some of the things we do. We raise money from financial institutions and put them back into the economy. We also partner with small businesses to grow their business opportunities. KiaKia has facilitated over N12bn in loans, in terms of business and retail credit.