South Africa's leading fintech, Lula, which rebranded from Lulalend, is now offering an array of first-to-market services poised to redefine the SME banking landscape thereby taking a giant leap forward in its mission to support SMEs.
The local SME-focused fintech said it has now evolved into Lula, a one-stop, cash-flow management and business banking solution. The rebranding marks a critical evolution from a funding provider to an 'all in one cash flow management platform designed to simplify financial management for SMEs.
Trevor Gosling, Lula’s Co-founder, and CEO said that guided by their core belief that SMEs were the lifeblood of the South African economy, Lula aimed to broaden its service offering to solve even more of the most common financial challenges small businesses face. “To this end, we’re launching a business banking account tailor made for SMEs, complete with advanced financial management capabilities - such as an AI-driven cash flow analysis tool to enable better decision-making,” Gosling said.
He said that this pivotal part of their transformation was their partnership with Access Bank. “This strategic collaboration allows us to offer a truly unique business banking experience by combining the speed and innovation of cutting-edge fintech with the credibility and compliance know-how of a fully SARB licensed bank.”
The fintech said that even prior to its evolution into Lula, its dedication to propelling the growth of South Africa's SMEs had delivered high-impact real-world results as its flexible financial solutions provided vital assistance to many businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic, ensuring their survival and as a result protecting jobs. “The fast access to funding that we offer is also used by many SMEs to overcome the operational challenges caused by load shedding.’’
The company said it had reached tens of thousands of SMEs and was targeting those and more with its new offering. It said that it also intended to capture new sector entrants and support them early in their journey.
Lula's product offerings, tailor-made for SMEs, include fast and easy access to business funding and a free business banking account with a built-in cash flow analysis tool. By solving the most common cash flow challenges faced by business owners, Lula's objective was to empower every SME in South Africa to succeed.
“In a quest to enable SMEs to take advantage of immediate business opportunities, Lula offers access to capital within 24 hours, with no collateral required and flexible repayment terms. With Lulaflow, an AI driven cash flow management tool, businesses get real time insights on income, expenditure and cash flow forecasts, helping them make better financial decisions,” Gosling said.
Lula said its rebranding was not just a change in name but a recommitment to empowering SMEs. With its unique digital solutions that simplify cash flow management, Lula allowed business owners to spend more time on what is truly important --growing their businesses.
The company's innovative approach to banking was designed to meet the unique needs of SMEs.
Gosling said they believed in the power of SMEs as the engine of the South African economy. “Our new services are tailored to support these businesses in a way that traditional banking has not,” Gosling said. “We’ve reinvented how a business bank account can support business owners, offering them a platform where they can manage all of their business finances from one place, via an account that can be opened online within minutes,” he added.
“With Lula, businesses can choose between a Free or an Unlimited business bank account. The free business bank account is an ideal choice for smaller, earlier stage businesses with zero monthly fees,” Gosling said.
However, he explains that, with built-in features designed for comprehensive financial management, this tailored offering is also a relevant and savvy choice for established SMEs. “The pay-as-you-transact model, coupled with the ability to link and view all of your other bank or management accounts, make it a fitting option for SMEs that want flexibility and support managing their overall finances.”
“On the other hand, the Unlimited business bank account offers additional value to businesses with larger scale operations, such as the ability to make an unlimited amount of free EFT transactions for a fixed monthly fee,” Gosling elaborated.
Available with either account option was the fast and easy access to business funding, for SMEs of all sizes, that the company was already well known for. Lula offers a unique Revolving Capital Facility, providing businesses with the flexibility to withdraw funds up to an agreed limit as and when needed, without having to reapply each time. Lula’s Revolving Capital Facility, which can be created within 24 hours from application, offers business owners peace of mind knowing they have instant cash flow support available.
Willem Haarhoff, CEO at DoughGetters, a globally active accounting firm, said that Lula’s innovative banking approach has streamlined their financial operations, which in turn was propelling their growth and productivity. “It truly is a blend of data-driven decision-making and financial control at our fingertips and the sign-up process was super easy and efficient. Well done, Lula.”
Gosling said that they were not just a banking platform. “We're a financial partner, ready to empower your business with the latest financial management tools, as well as fast and easy access to capital. Our unique digital solutions will enable business owners to simplify cash flow management and spend more time on growing their business, helping unlock the vast potential of SA’s SMEs, and drive our economy forward,“ Gosling said.