Get listed on our Fintech Service Providers Directory Sign Up Here

ERIC MULI: The Man Behind Lipa Later That is Changing the Game in Africa.

You have probably walked into a store and spotted the perfect gadget that could change your life—that new laptop that you badly need for your side hustle, your dream phone, a camera that can kickstart your photography career—but when you are about to ask for it, reality hits, and you realize that your wallet isn’t ready for that kind of splurge.

Just as you start to feel disappointed, you see a sign that says, “Buy Now and Pay Later’ and suddenly, your hope is rekindled. To some such a solution may come as a surprise. To some, it is reminiscent of high school math and business education where we were taught about hire purchase. Some know about the solution and have probably used it. But do you know the brain behind this game-changer?

Eric Muli is the CEO of Lipa Later Group. He knows how often individuals sometimes want an essential item but are not able to afford it due to financial constraints.

Lipa Later Group is a digital banking platform that enables merchants to pay and get paid conveniently, which has transformed the consumer credit industry across Africa, empowering consumers to Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) and access credit  in Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, and Rwanda.

Planting the Seed of Financial Inclusion

Muli’s journey towards innovation and financial inclusion began at Strathmore School, where the Motto “That All May Be One” planted the seed for his bold pursuit.

His passion for learning and exceptional academic performance earned him a scholarship that opened the doors to Babson College in the US, where he embarked on a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree, specializing in Finance and Economics.

While in university, navigating the challenges of campus life and adapting to a new continent, Eric’s entrepreneurial spirit kept burning within him. With his friends, he co-founded Jossle in 2011, an action marketing company where they crafted marketing strategies for big names like Microsoft and Uber, handling activation and campaigns across various campuses.

Buoyed by this experience, Muli forged his path and founded Alpha Force Security Limited, a company that offers professional and highly qualified security systems, infrastructure, and round-the-clock guard services.

2014 was a pivotal year in his life. He graduated, and yet he found himself at a loss because he had to leave behind a business experience that had shaped his entrepreneurial journey. Little did he know that this was the opening of even better opportunities awaiting him back home.

Unfolding of the Journey

Upon returning from the United States, Muli immersed himself in the vibrant energy of Nairobi. Like every fresh graduate, he faced the daunting task of getting a job in a competitive job market, in a country with runaway unemployment.

He started off as a project manager at the Better Business Bureau, an experience that opened him to valuable skills and laid the groundwork for his career.

A year later, he joined K-Rep Bank as a corporate finance intern, where he honed his knowledge in finance and corporate operations. Through hands-on experience, he gained firsthand knowledge of the challenges and intricacies of the market. After completing the internship, he went on to work as a research analyst at Leadership Forum, diving into the world of research and analysis.

With a grand vision and courage, he decided to leave his position at The Leadership Forum, as many people questioned his move. He joined the Growth Hub as a Recruitment and Network Coordinator, driven by an intense desire to immerse himself fully in the business world. During this time, he felt the excitement of nurturing ideas and seeing them blossom into thriving ventures.

The Birth of Lipa Later

One day, while wandering through malls in Nairobi on a tight budget, desperately looking for a phone that would meet his needs without breaking the bank, Eric made a surprising observation. He realized that very few stores accepted individuals to buy devices and pay in installments.

Unlike in the US, where installment plans were widely available, Muli was shocked to discover that in this day and age, such services were nonexistent in Kenya.

It was a lightbulb moment. He saw an untapped opportunity and shared his idea with his co-founder, Michael Maina, and they decided to explore it. Over the following days, Michael helped him walk around malls, conduct market research, and engage with retailers and shoppers.

The feedback was clear: Most consumers agreed that often they want a specific item that would meet their needs but sometimes they could not afford it when they needed it. However, the same consumers were capable of paying for it in the course of a few months.

Muli learned that the biggest challenge, especially for young people, was their inability to access loans due to a lack of property ownership, which hindered them from securing traditional loans.

At first, they envisioned a credit-lending facility whose operation was similar to traditional formats, but his focus shifted towards creating a platform that would allow young individuals and others alike to access various electronic devices through loans, which they could repay in installments.

He went back to the drawing board with a new aim of providing financial inclusion and empowering ordinary Africans to have purchasing power. It was here that Lipa Later was born.

While much attention was paid to financing businesses, homes, and education, everyday purchases in other markets were overlooked. In 2018, with courage and determination to bridge this gap and bring greater financial inclusion, Muli and Michaelbfounded Lipa Later Group .

Never Say Quit

Like any other startup, they faced their fair share of challenges with Lipa Later. The main challenge was securing enough capital to kick-start the business.

Initially, when Lipa Later picked up, they focused on electronic items such as phones, laptops, and home theaters. Lipa Later has evolved over time to empower African businesses to do more by enabling e-commerce, financial inclusion, and shopping on a centralized and fully integrated platform. Today, Lipa Later has tapped into the rapidly growing online presence across Africa to provide financial solutions to consumers by increasing their purchasing power and being an alternative payment option. They have also made credit easily accessible to consumers, hence reduced friction to create seamless shopping experiences in Africa, and contributed to the growth of their retailers.

In alignment with their vision, Lipa Later strategically acquired Sky.Garden towards the end of the year 2022, an e-commerce platform tailored to African enterprises which was facing closure due to insolvency. This acquisition reinforced the company’s commitment to bridging the gap between merchants and customers.

As pioneers in reshaping Africa’s payments landscape, they are breaking down barriers that have historically hindered accessibility, while also propelling the evolution of shopping, e-commerce, and payments. Presently, Lipa Later serves a vast clientele comprising hundreds of thousands of consumers and retail entities across Africa.

Lipa Later primarily caters to the 23 to 30+ age group, often individuals navigating their early careers and needing a solid credit history.

Lipa Later has operations in Nigeria, Ghana, Rwanda, and Tanzania, has served over 400,000 consumers, and 35,000+ merchants and has achieved an impressive growth rate of over 100%. Today, Lipa Later has established itself as a prominent player in the industry, competing with platforms like Aspira, Miti, Flexpay Technologies, and Julla.

Vision Accomplished

Embarking on an entrepreneurial journey is no easy feat, a truth that Muli knows too well. His experience with Lipa Later has taught him the value of patience as he navigated through each phase of the business. As it turned out, it was a worthwhile investment.

He has been honored as one of Africa’s Top 30 Under 30 entrepreneurs, a testament to his contribution to the business industry on the continent.

He has also been listed among Kenya’s Top 40 Under 40 Men in Kenya for his successful startup, Alpha Force Security, which he established while in school and continues to thrive.

The London Stock Exchange Group also recognized Lipa Later as one of Africa’s most inspiring businesses, highlighting its impact and influence in the finance industry.

Lipa Later was also recently listed as Africa’s fastest-growing players in the Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) sector by the Financial Times / Statista 2023 annual ranking. Lipa Later aims to be the financial control centre for Africa’s 50M retailers.

While there is still much work to be done in achieving true financial inclusion in Africa, Muli’s vision has helped transform and improve consumer credit across Africa. Through Lipa Later, he is driving the future of shopping, e-commerce, and payments, making them more accessible and convenient for all.

Muli’s ultimate goal is to empower the community, allowing them to focus on improving their skills and quality of life. He still envisions a future where financial inclusion is a reality for all, creating better opportunities and improving more lives. He’s working to expand financial inclusion that benefits both consumers and retailers by increasing their customer base.

If you have not met Eric, then you surely have seen his brainchild, Lipa Later, because the impact and evidence of its success run deep across our African countries. Lives have been transformed, dreams have been realized, and better living experiences have been made possible through the simple yet powerful concept of flexible payment options.

𝐷𝑜 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑘𝑛𝑜𝑤 𝑎 𝑡𝑟𝑎𝑖𝑙𝑏𝑙𝑎𝑧𝑒𝑟 𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑇𝑒𝑐ℎ 𝐸𝑐𝑜𝑠𝑦𝑠𝑡𝑒𝑚? 𝐷𝑜 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑤𝑎𝑛𝑡 𝑡𝑜 𝑠𝑒𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑚 𝑓𝑒𝑎𝑡𝑢𝑟𝑒𝑑 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑟𝑒𝑐𝑜𝑔𝑛𝑖𝑧𝑒𝑑 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑖𝑟 𝑟𝑒𝑚𝑎𝑟𝑘𝑎𝑏𝑙𝑒 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑡𝑟𝑖𝑏𝑢𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑠? 𝑆ℎ𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑖𝑟 𝑠𝑡𝑜𝑟𝑦 𝑜𝑟 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑡𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑠 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑢𝑠 𝑎𝑡 𝑃𝑅@𝑓𝑖𝑛-𝑡𝑒𝑐ℎ.𝑐𝑜.𝑘𝑒 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑙𝑒𝑡 𝑢𝑠 ℎ𝑒𝑙𝑝 𝑠ℎ𝑜𝑤𝑐𝑎𝑠𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑖𝑟 𝑎𝑐ℎ𝑖𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑠 𝑡𝑜 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑙𝑑.

Leave a Reply

🌟 We've Upgraded! Find Us Here: 🌟
Ready to leave the old behind? We've built a brand-new digital home for Kenya's fintech community!
What you get:
💡 The inside track on Kenya's booming fintech scene
🤝 Networking events for power players like you
📰 Up-to-the-minute news to keep you ahead of the curve
🔗 Click here to join the future of finance – innovation awaits!