The Paris-based FairMoney was launched in 2017 by Laurin Hainy, Matthieu Gendreau and Nicolas Berthozat. They developed an Android app which gave users access, individuals and professionals, to microloans in Nigeria. Their loans range from €10 to €350, but they average €40. The term of the loans are one to three months at 10 to 20% interest.
Applicants download FairMoney's app, where they answer a few questions and share their financial information. FairMoney then analyzes the applicants information, their geolocation, other apps installed on their phone and other factors to respond to the application in a few minutes.
Their initial loans, for new customers, start small, but for returning customers, with established positive borrowing histories with FairMoney, the loan amount can increase and the interest rate lower. They offer flexible borrowing periods which also impact the offered interest rate. The money is deposited to a borrower through traditional bank transfers, while borrowers can repay the loan with cash at partner bank tellers, bank transfers or SMS transfers.
In 2019, FairMoney introduced new features, where borrowers could buy data, airtime or pay utility bills from their app. Later in the same year, FairMoney announced their intention to develop a mobile banking functionality for current accounts, savings and to facilitate payments. They hope to get a microfinance license from Nigeria's central bank while they work on developing an SMS interface for money transfers.
FairMoney raised €10 million in September 2019. The round was led by Flourish Ventures and included DST Global Partners, Newfund Capital, Speedinvest and Le Studio VC. They committed the money to scale their engineering team to develop a fully-fledged mobile banking offering.