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“We believe that entrepreneurs are the answer to Africa’s greatest problems,” states Mathew Marsden, co-founder and CEO of fintech startup getlion™️. “At getlion, we’re building the go-to platform for African entrepreneurs that aims to create 500 000 sustainable African businesses by 2025.”
Ventureburn sat down for an interview with the startup to talk about the recent expansion of their current offering to include a Funding portal and Marketplace – additions their CEO is particularly excited about.
SA’s domestic need for entrepreneurship has never been greater
Founded in 2020 by Marsden, Andrew Maren, Trevor Naidoo and Preston Naidoo, the startup aims to make entrepreneurship more accessible and practically support new business creation to increase the probability of long-term success.
However, with over 50% of businesses failing within their first two years and the SA unemployment is at 32.6%, Marsden is adamant that the domestic need for entrepreneurship has never been greater. “It is important to understand why businesses commonly fail, and our research suggests that this centres around knowledge, best practice, funding and access to markets,” clarifies Marsden.
“This is where getlion comes in – a one-stop platform where entrepreneurs can access the solutions to their common obstacles. This includes learning content, discounted offerings from our network of 30 partner companies, access to our funding portal, as well as a first-of-its-kind online B2B marketplace. All of that is underpinned by a rewards program that incentives users to ‘run their business the right way’- a global first. In short, our platform is an end-to-end toolbox for business-building and takes a user from idea to selling,” he details.
”Our two most important features address the priority needs faced by entrepreneurs; accessing capital and new customers. By progressing through our rewards programme, users will ensure that their business is sufficiently compliant and has a credible profile, elements that will better position them with funders and buyers alike,” Marsden clarifies.
There is no shortage of funding in SA but entrepreneurs struggle to access the right funding sources. If they do, they still have a poor chance of approval due to unmet compliance or turnover requirements. Similarly, banks and traditional funding sources have prohibitive due diligence and slow turnaround times. These conditions have led to the rise in tech-driven alternative lenders.
The getlion funding portal bridges this gap by showing users available funding options and allowing in-app funding applications with getlion’s strategic partners. Additionally, the platform curates the data from the rewards program to auto-populate funding applications and speed up the process. If the applicant meets minimum criteria getlion matches them with the right funding partner, who will respond within 48 hours. If the user isn’t approved, the app will show alternatives. In time, getlion’s insights will allow the startup to understand why an applicant was rejected and then guide the user to remedy this. They also plan to provide users with multiple comparable offers, similar to Hippo.
Marsden describes the Marketplace as “…arguably our most-exciting feature yet, given its potential to directly impact a users’ turnover.” Building a standalone online store requires both technical know-how and a steady flow of curated online traffic – the startup aims to make getlion’s Marketplace the first-entry solution for entrepreneurs selling their products and services online.
The clean, user-friendly setup belies an extensive feature set that addresses the frustrations currently faced by sellers and buyers. These include a fully-fledged store manager and analytics, the ability to sell products or services, market-leading pay-as-you-sell fees, full payment protection through integrated escrow, and the ability to converse with buyers and customize orders before purchase.
Unlike other marketplaces, getlion curates a constant supply of new sellers as users progress through the platform, growing the base consistently.
“This allows us to focus our efforts and budget on attracting customers for our sellers, who find rest knowing that only verified getlion users are selling on the platform and they have full payment protection. With Covid-19 accelerating e-commerce adoption across the continent and Visa predicting e-commerce in Sub-Saharan Africa to hit $7-trillion by 2024 – largely driven by B2B transactions – we’re confident that our solution is both needed and novel enough to make a huge impact,” Marsden concludes.
Featured image: Mathew Marsden, getlion CEO (Supplied)