SUMMARY

Asaak is a mobile technology and data science company that is focused on providing microloans to small- and medium-sized businesses in Uganda. Asaak deploys an automated technology and data platform that powers both direct and partnership-based lending.

Asaak provides collateral-backed loans to small- and medium-sized businesses in Africa, bridging the $130B credit gap that currently exists. Their mission is to close the credit gap in emerging markets through a mobile technology-enabled marketplace while creating a new asset class for global investors.  Asaak started with a single lending product for farmers and has now quickly moved into government contractors, real estate, agriculture, energy access, and women entrepreneurship funding programs.

Company Overview

CEO: Kaivan Sattar
Website: www.asaak.co
Founded: 2016
Market: Uganda
Product: Mobile credit for SMEs
Sponsor: 500 Startups

Over the next six months, Asaak will receive up to $100,000 USD in grant capital and receive the mentoring of its Catalyst Fund sponsor, 500 Startups. The company will also work with BFA to identify specific advisory engagements towards strategic milestones and a growth trajectory.


THE Problem and Solution

African small business owners struggle with accessing capital to fuel their businesses’ growth as loans are prohibitively small, representing a $130B credit gap. Africa’s only fully collateralized mobile fintech lender and Uganda’s first digital lender, Asaak offers African entrepreneurs and farmers access to quick, mobile-based credit. They provide SMEs with credit sizes tailored to their unique needs. Their mission is to close the credit gap in emerging markets through a mobile technology-enabled marketplace while creating a new asset class for global investors.

The Innovation

  •  No other company provides access to large, collateralized loans via mobile in SSA (collateral is foregone for smallholder farmers).

  • Mobile tech stack verifies collateral and disburses money in hours.

  • Leverages human-enabled tech to assess creditworthiness and engender trust with new clients.

The Value Proposition

  • The only African fintech that fully collateralizes its loans, which drastically lowers their risks.

  • Loans are backed by assets like real estate or heavy machinery; legal team inspects and verifies authenticity of property via integration with government.

  • Unlike microfinance institutions, Asaak gives loans larger than $300, which is a huge unmet need.

  • Uses mobile tech (Android and SMS-based apps) to onboard borrowers and disburse money quickly.


THE LEARNING AGENDA

Asaak is aligned with the Catalyst Fund learning agenda. Their challenges as we know them could help answer the following questions within the learning pillar of:

  • 10x Better Value Propositions: How can inclusive fintech companies leverage RPA to optimize internal processes?
  • Limiting Factors: What is the best balance between human and digital touchpoints to improve customer engagement? How does this differ for collateralized inclusive fintech players?