Moula, an Australian FinTech, is leveraging cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI) to make loans more accessible to small businesses. Moula offers a 48-hour turnaround, delivering loans of up to $500,000 based on a much clearer understanding of an organization’s creditworthiness due to Moula’s machine learning algorithms.
The majority of small businesses start as micro businesses funded by friends or family. However, as the business starts to grow, revenues start to flow, people are hired, stock is bought, and the funding needs of the
business expand. A recent small business survey conducted by CPA Australia revealed that almost a third had sought external funding to grow their business. However, getting a loan from a traditional bank is not always easy and while traditional banks may shy away from lending to small and medium businesses, Moula has pledged to lend $250 million to businesses over the next 12 months.
There are approximately 2.3 million businesses throughout Australia, with the majority classed as small and medium businesses, employing around 7 out of 10 workers and contributing almost $6 out of every $10 of the nation’s GDP.
Justin Green is the Chief Product and Strategy Officer for Moula explains, “If you don’t have the benefit of assets, like the family home to put up as collateral, then your ability to borrow money from the bank is pretty limited. So Moula’s thesis was very much ‘can we partner with small businesses?’, try and demystify this volatility that exists in small businesses, encourage this open sharing of business data, as the critical asset to understand the nature of someone’s business.”
Moula has forged a partnership with the cloud accounting business Xero that many small businesses already trust with their data, developing an intelligent platform to underpin the loan process.
According to BizData Director Nadav Rayman, the solution helps to empower small businesses by allowing them to use their own data as evidence of the quality of their business. “Moula’s partnership with Xero streamlines access to that data while Microsoft Azure and the surrounding Azure services provide an AI driven platform for Moula to rapidly analyse and assess a business’s loan application.”
Moula started testing Azure at the beginning of 2018 before transitioning to the Microsoft cloud in October that year. Paul Pesavento, Moula’s Chief Data Officer explains, “Taking into consideration the licensing and service expenses, Azure is more cost-effective. As we are using PaaS, we are no longer concerned with updating the VMs and patching the frameworks. Azure provides better and more fine-grained security. It has helped us to use advanced threat detection and security features in Azure SQL databases we are using. Last but not least, we can scale up to any kind of workload we have to deal with.”
Moula worked with Microsoft partner, BizData to transition to Microsoft cloud, establishing an Azure based data warehouse using Azure SQL DB, implementing Power BI to run business analytics, and leveraging Azure AI and machine learning capabilities to assess data and analyse risk.
Rachel Bondi, general manager, One Commercial Partner, Microsoft Australia, applauds the partnership between BizData and Moula, for the vision it brought to the market.
“Small business is the engine room of Australia’s economy. It’s where most people work, and without small business big business simply could not function. The vision of Moula in terms of liberating the value in small business data is impressive, and the partnership with BizData using Microsoft AI technology to bring that vision to life is a prime example of collaboration across our ecosystem to bring about not just business transformation, but sector transformation.”