The financial revolution
UsPlus, like the new generations of fintech in South Africa, aims to tap into the advantages provided by technology to target financially excluded businesses and entrepreneurs in a profitable manner.
Founded in 2015, the company provides alternative funding solutions, in the form of discounting products to the SME sector. Discounting is a method of financing that allows SMEs to sell their invoices to a third party at a discounted rate in exchange for immediate cash. The innovation presented by this product lies in the advantages it provides for SMEs including easy and fast access to working capital that would otherwise be tied up in unpaid invoice and improved cash flow for paying suppliers or investing in the growth of the company. To date, UsPlus has disbursed approximately USD 133 million in funding to SMEs through the debtor discounting product.
Investment Officer Stanley Anyetei: “This investment in UsPlus shows Triodos Investment Management’s continued commitment to invest in innovation in financial inclusion to bridge the access to finance gap across the African continent. We look forward to our cooperation with the UsPlus team as well as to deepen our impact on this continent by contributing to inclusive economic growth.”
Onboarding of clients
UsPlus acquires clients via word of mouth, industry meetings, accountancy companies and through their web portal. Each client is required to be legally registered, with a track record of at least three fiscal years and assessment of debtors/supply agreements. Also, UsPlus ensures that prospective clients are not involved in activities that have a negative impact on environment and social issues. The exclusion criteria are based on the IFC Exclusion list. Once this is satisfied, UsPlus begins the access process analysing the client’s operational performance, amongst others. Apart from the client visit, the whole process is done digitally minimising the timeline to disbursement after visit. Maximum turnaround is one-week for new clients and half a day for existing clients.
UsPlus has a proven operating performance and resilience over the last eight years; the debt facility by the Triodos IM financial inclusion funds supports this innovative fintech to scale up and to diversify its funding base, thereby further boosting the underserved SME sector in South Africa.