Colombian Digital Lending Fintech Sempli Receives $5.7 Million USD in Funding from BID LAB, Oikocredit
Colombian fintech startup Sempli has raised $5.7 million USD in funding from the Inter-American Development Bank’s BID LAB investment arm and Netherlands-based microfinance investor Oikocredit that it will use to grow its digital platform for small business lending.
The capital will serve as key financing for operations and growth as Sempli begins to prepare for a formal series A round next year, according to the Medellín-based fintech with additional offices in Bogotá.
Photo: Felipe Llano and Esteban Velasco, co-founders of Sempli, in Medellín. (Photo credit: Sempli)
In a larger context, Esteban Velasco, cofounder of Sempli, said that the investment will help the startup continue advancing its goal to become the top digital lender for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Colombia and help those companies scale up.
“We have learned from our clients that responsible debt is crucial to enabling them to grow their operations consistently,” said Velasco.
In less than two years of operations, the startup has disbursed around $10 million USD in loans, each valued at between $10,000 USD and $100,000 USD. It makes these working capital loans available for very short terms of just three months up to longer periods of three years.
Its key differentiator from traditional lenders in the country is speed and its reliance on a propriety data-based credit scoring methodology. By assessing applications through this tech-first, automated approach, it is able to makes a decision to approve or deny a request in 72 hours.
In explaining their investments, executives at BID LAB and Oikocredit both stressed the social benefits of Sempli’s service, which they see as helping more small businesses to get off the ground by securing an alternative capital source that might not be possible to receive through traditional channels in Colombia.
Martha Muñoz of BID LAB, which is also known as IDB LAB following its rebrand from FOMIN, characterized the service as a key part of the overall fintech ecosystem in the Colombia that is “changing the financing map for companies, helping to generate financial inclusion and therefore improve lives.”
Sébastien Rigaud of Oikocredits, which refers to itself a “social impact investor,” noted that his firm is encouraged by Sempli’s expectations to reach some 4,000 SMEs, which will account for and around 40,000 jobs, during the next half-decade.
“We’re confident in the founders’ ability to make Sempli a success for all its stakeholders, most crucially for the owners and employees of the SMEs Sempli serves,” said Rigaud. “In this regard Sempli is well aligned with Oikocredits focus on social impact.”