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Aussie Lender Kikka Grabs $1.5M

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The alt-lending market may be struggling in the U.S., but in Australia, investors are giving the market a boost. Kikka Capital secured new funding from investors, reports said on Wednesday (June 8), as the company seeks to focus on expanding its SME lending operations.

The company reportedly raised $1.5 million (A$2 million) from FlexiGroup. In an interview with reporters, Kikka CEO and Founder David Brennan said the company will take the money and hit the ground running.

"We're going through a phase of learning what is necessary to scale the business and grow it," he said.

But the fundraising journey wasn't simply fast cash, the executive added. According to Brennan, it took four months to secure the investment to ensure that both sides were happy with their deal.

In an effort to grow, Kikka said it has secured former Macquarie Capital Executive Director Justin Mannolini to head its board of directors; according to reports, Mannolini was one of the first investors in Kikka.

"With Justin coming on board, it's a real sign that we have a business and product that is attracting not only startups and tech but also traditional bankers," Brennan told reporters. "He takes a diligent and structured approach to how we should be running the business. He's a lawyer, but he's incredibly entrepreneurial so he sees the opportunity."

Kikka links SMEs to financing through its unsecured credit line from U.S. counterpart Kabbage. The company first launched last year with a pitch to provide automated, real-time underwriting for small business loans.

It's A$2 million funding round follows Kabbage's $135 million investment round late last year, led by Reverence Capital Partners and several other backers. That investment round was also touted as evidence that major financial institutions have confidence in this kind of alternative FinTech provider.

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