Co-founders Andrew Watt and Aris Allegos (pictured left), who each previously worked over 15 years in the banking industry, met on a fixed income trading floor in London way back in the early 2000s and have remained friends since.
Both come from families where small business was central to the discussion and given the clearly structural composition of the domestic banking system, they say the opportunity for Moula was obvious.
A simple solution to a complex problem?
Aris and Andrew returned to Australia in 2013 and set about solving the capital problems faced by small businesses here, along with Piers Moller who had spent over 14 years developing apps in-house for banks.
Moula, which has been lending since early 2014, was the first lender of its kind in Australia, providing small businesses with flexible access to funding via a simple online application process by using multiple data sources to rapidly assess creditworthiness.
Unlike a traditional bank, small businesses can apply online for a business loan of up to $100,000 (up from the previous $50,000) in minutes and receive funding the same day.
It’s worth noting that their underwriting platform has been specifically developed locally for Australia’s small businesses.
What does this funding round mean for Moula?
Now as online lending platforms from overseas announce their intention to launch here, Moula intends to continues to cement its position in the country’s online small business lending space with this capital raise.
CEO Aris said this new funding round will enable them to expand their offering and continue to maintain their current growth while delivering the same quality of service and speed through investment in people, technology and marketing.
Liberty will also provide funding for Moula’s loan book.
“The overwhelming support from Liberty marks a new and exciting chapter for Moula and for the acceleration of our business model; we’ve found an ideal partner with an unparalleled track record for building a successful financial services platform in Australia and a shared vision for responsible and ethical lending,” Aris added.
Why has Moula attracted this $30m funding?
Liberty General Manager, Marketing and Communications, Heidi Armstrong remarked that the opportunity ahead of Moula is similar to what they faced when Liberty was founded, except that it’s small business lending through instant online fulfillment.
“We’ve been following Moula’s success and are excited to participate in their growth,” she commented. “Our experience in finance innovation will ensure Moula is well positioned to develop its platform and continue to offer their own innovative form of lending to small businesses in Australia.”
Nathan Cher of NCN Investments said, “We’ve been involved with Moula since 2014 and have been consistently impressed by the management team and the ongoing growth of the business. This investment round brings together two of the most innovative finance companies in the country.”
Aris revealed to Anthill that prior to this round, only about $2 million had been raised in seed capital (including the founding investment) from individual investors.