Lendela have been connecting Scandinavian consumers with the best credit providers for over 15 years. After successful expansions to both South America and Spain, they had a business case for new markets. Southeast Asia was quickly identified as a hotspot. While still growing with boundless potential and a positive culture for doing business, Lendela saw a gap in the market.
The challenge for Lendela was to identify and gain access to the right partners in the markets that would present the best growth opportunities. Working with Business Sweden provided the initial insight and grew from there.
Reaching out from Sweden as a virtual nobody meant it was impossible to access banks and lenders. Connecting through Business Sweden’s network gave us credibility and opened doors.
Understanding that Southeast Asia is many different markets in one vast region is critical. Regulation is often similar but there are many different cultures, religions, languages and nuances that need to be considered.
“The insights from Business Sweden helped us identify Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong as the optimal markets for us to start with. The research and market insights provided helped us to enter the market in a focussed and fast way, which was critical to us entering but also being successful so quickly”, said Nima Karimi.
Establishing local funding can be a game-changer for start-ups. Nima Karimi explained: “Although initially it was more work, the benefits of having a local venture capital cannot be underestimated. Business Sweden’s local connections were fundamental in our successful set-up, connecting us to the right people in the right markets.”
Lendela have quickly made a mark since their launch in July 2018. Nima Karimi explains that “Generally the Southeast Asian market is mature, but the process for comparing, applying for and getting a loan is still cumbersome and inaccessible with a heavy reliance on paperwork. We wanted to change that.” They have now helped thousands of previously under-served, over-paying or unbanked customers find the right personal loan. They work with more than ten financial lending partners and strategic partners in the marketplace, which has given them access to millions of users in the region.
By quickly establishing a position in the market, Lendela have been able to leverage recent regulatory changes which are opening up opportunities for innovative lenders. This follows a trend that was seen in Sweden many years ago.
Nima Karimi concluded: “Reaching out from Sweden as a virtual nobody meant it was impossible to access banks and lenders. Connecting through Business Sweden’s network gave us credibility and opened doors. Those meetings have been instrumental in our successful start-up.”
Lendela started out in Sweden over 15 years ago and quickly grew across Scandinavia, connecting individuals with the right personal loan options through a simplified digital application process.
Today, they have a growing global presence with operations in South America and Southeast Asia. They partner with leading banks and lenders and have helped nearly two million customers worldwide to access suitable personal loans.
Lendela are looking to embed their brand in the region and expand to Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia in the next 6 to 12 months. They have successfully introduced the Swedish broker model into previously traditional and cumbersome financial sectors.