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How to access ‘America’s Seed Fund,’ the $3 billion SBIR program

One of the best kept secrets in the world of capital is that the federal government has billions of dollars it’s dying to give away to early stage founders and inventors — and all you have to do is ask. Well, there’s a bit more to it than that, so here’s a guide to getting in the door of the massive Small Business Innovation Research program.

First, as a bit of background: SBIR is a large network of programs, spread across a dozen federal agencies and the military, established some 40 years ago as a way to help out any American with a great idea but little access to capital.

Over time it has grown to impressive proportions, with a total award budget in 2019 of nearly $3.3 billion. To be clear, this is money intended to be essentially given away to qualified recipients, and not as license fees, or orders, or equity; These cash awards, which range from hundreds of thousands to over a million dollars, come with remarkably few strings attached.

That said, it’s not as if you just reach into the SBIR cookie jar and pull out a million bucks. As with anything involving the federal government, there’s a process — and not a short or simple one. There are extensive official tutorials for later, but this article (informed by tips from officials in the program) should help get you up and running.

It should be noted that this is not the only tech-related government grant program by a long shot, but it is the largest, broadest, and arguably the most accessible to small business entrepreneurs and inventors like you — or it will be once you read this guide. Just be ready to put in a little work.

Step 1: Check yourself

Image Credits: Maskot / Getty Images

The first thing you should know is that the SBIR program operates with a specific (though not uncommon) type of entrepreneur in mind: Someone who needs money to develop and commercialize a new technology or intellectual property, but isn’t yet at the stage where they can attract traditional investment, and the risk or cost is too high for an ordinary loan.

SBIR awards (some agencies offer “grants,” others “contracts,” but you can just say “awards”) are basically cash to bring something from idea to commercialization. They are not for footing manufacturing down payments, repaying earlier loans, or other miscellaneous operating costs.

If your company or invention needs help to cover R&D to get from experiment to working prototype, or prototype to commercialization, you might be a good fit. It doesn’t matter whether it’s software or hardware, your first product or your tenth — just as long as you’re a self-owned, U.S-based small business and you’re building a new technology that needs some cash to get started.

A second, lesser-known benefit of the program is that if you get selected, your company is eligible to skip the line for some government procurement processes that would otherwise require competitive offers. If you picture the U.S. Government as a potential client down the road, this benefit alone may be worth the toil.

The program is generally divided into phases, which you’ll probably want to do in order.

Phase I is for people demonstrating proof of concept — anywhere on the line from whiteboard to prototype. Awards range from tens of thousands to over $200,000, over a period of 6 to 12 months, depending on what is warranted for the specific development costs.

Phase II is for those doing deeper R&D on a proven concept and may be more than a million dollars over a two-year period; As you can see, this is a long term play, not a quick cash grab.

Phase III is where a project may transition to actual paid contracts and purchases — but you can worry about that when you get there.

In other words, while the money has few catches once you get it, the program isn’t a free-for-all. If it sounds like a match and you’re willing to do a little legwork, proceed.

Step 2: Figure out where to apply

Image Credits: Imaginima / Getty Images

Here’s where it starts getting complicated. There isn’t actually just one SBIR program, there are a dozen, spread across as many federal agencies, from Defense and Energy to NASA and NOAA. Each has its own budget and application process — making this already complex enough that many a grant-seeker has bounced right off it (or closed this tab). But don’t worry, it’s not as bad as it sounds. You’ve got three things going for you.

First, not every technology or business is a fit for every agency.

This is actually a good thing. Think about who the “customer” is for your technology: Your rocket engine isn’t going to be of much use to Health and Human Services; A collision avoidance system for a drone might be good for the Defense Department, but it also might be helpful to the Department of Energy in a different way. What specifically does your tech enable, and why would it be helpful to the work of specifically one agency? That should help narrow it down considerably — but don’t be afraid to think outside the box a little. You might be surprised what some of these departments get up to.

Second, each agency has specific things it’s looking for, both right now and perennially.

This means there’s not much in the way of guesswork. These numerous and various “solicitations” range from general areas of interest to highly detailed requests, are listed publicly (see the links below), and can usually be searched through or sorted by topic. Once you’ve decided that your tech might be useful to either the EPA or NOAA, for example, look through their solicitations — they’re updated regularly, though the schedule differs by agency — and see if one is already asking for what you’re offering or uses similar keywords. You can and should also search through previous years to see if they’ve requested something like your tech in the past.

Third, there are people whose job it is to help businesses through this process.

Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, or PTACs, exist in every state, as well as D.C., Guam, and Puerto Rico. These are staffed with people whose job it is to help small businesses navigate the complexities of government grant programs. You can find your local office by selecting it from the list here.

PTACs are more focused on contracts, however, and for these awards you may want to look up your local Small Business Development Center instead. These SBA-funded organizations are also here to help and there are several in and around most cities (select them in the dropdown menu here and hit search).

Though each program has its own requirements and solicitations, they’re all public. Here are the agencies with active SBIR programs, starting with the largest, with links to their starting pages for SBIR applicants. The second link is to their solicitations page (though it may use different terminology), which should list or itself link to current topics of interest.

Current solicitations are also centrally listed here in a different format. Please note that these addresses may at any time be rendered obsolete, as the government has no standard format for these programs or websites. Even the promotional materials I was given directly by SBIR officials were already out of date. But a little hunting around should get you to the right place. (And feel free to tell us in the comments if something seems off.)

Some of the programs are more similar than others, but there are a couple notable exceptions. The NSF, for instance, has more open-ended solicitations for basic research rather than development. But NASA and Defense are definitely the most complicated.

NASA’s SBIR program is divided up among its various research centers — Ames, Goddard, etc — each of which specializes in different technologies. While the specifics are too many and various to list here, a good way to get started is to look at a list of recent awards for similar or related technologies to your own, and find which center is the lead for it — for example robotic sampling is led by JPL, but small satellite propulsion is at Glenn. Then you can reach out to the SBIR contact for that center.

NASA also has a particularly robust Phase II program, with extended and expanded options for space-based work that necessarily takes longer or costs more money.

Defense has numerous grant programs under several umbrellas, including each branch of the military. To be honest, it’s kind of a mess, but they are working to simplify and accelerate the process. The actual DoD SBIR program, however, overlaps the most with the others and as such should be considered alongside them. You may want to rely on your PTAC or SBA representative to point the way.

Others will have their own idiosyncrasies, but getting started looks similar for all of them.

Step 3: Paperwork

USA, New York, New York City

Once you’ve decided to apply, you’ll want to register at SBIR.gov first thing — you have to get in the system in the first place to be eligible for participation in the process.

The SBIR officials I spoke to emphasized that while understanding the program and finding the right agency or agencies to submit to are important steps, it all falls down if you phone in the actual application — something they’ve seen over and over, apparently.

The applications differ agency to agency, and different topics demand different information, naturally. But in all of them you should be ready to articulate at least the following:

  • Detailed but concise explanation of the technology you’re developing
  • Company budget, financials, and investors
  • Commercial applications and plan to achieve them

Although the applications may only be 10 or so pages long, companies should budget at least 80 full-time hours to complete them. For companies with little experience with this sort of thing, hiring a professional grant writer is a perfectly valid option but by no means required. This is also something that PTACs and SBDCs can help with.

It’s important, officials said, not to focus just on selling the technology or science itself — you must also show that there is a viable path forward for the team and company that the government’s funding will enable. They may not want much in return, but they’d like some assurance that they’re not throwing money down a well.

There is nothing stopping you from applying to multiple programs, though be aware that you probably won’t be able to copy-paste your application from one to the other. You can also apply year after year or quarter after quarter if you like, or to multiple solicitations within the same agency. It’s not uncommon for a company to be accepted only after multiple attempts.

Lastly, if you have any questions about any of this, find and contact the SBIR representative for the agency you’re applying to. These folks are there to liaise and connect you with the right resources, so don’t hesitate to reach out. Just don’t try to pitch them directly — it won’t work.

As you can see, applying to SBIR is not a simple process but if you know the basic steps and resources, you can frontload the hard work while your project is still at an early stage. And while it may sound like a lot of winnowing is being done, recall that there really is a ton of money going into these programs and the whole point is to support American small businesses. That’s you!

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The essential revenue software stack

From working with our 90+ portfolio companies and their customers, as well as from frequent conversations with enterprise leaders, we have observed a set of software services emerge and evolve to become best practice for revenue teams. This set of services — call it the “revenue stack” — is used by sales, marketing and growth teams to identify and manage their prospects and revenue.

The evolution of this revenue stack started long before anyone had ever heard the word coronavirus, but now the stakes are even higher as the pandemic has accelerated this evolution into a race. Revenue teams across the country have been forced to change their tactics and tools in the blink of an eye in order to adapt to this new normal — one in which they needed to learn how to sell in not only an all-digital world but also an all-remote one where teams are dispersed more than ever before. The modern “remote-virtual-digital”-enabled revenue team has a new urgency for modern technology that equips them to be just as — and perhaps even more — productive than their pre-coronavirus baseline. We have seen a core combination of solutions emerge as best-in-class to help these virtual teams be most successful. Winners are being made by the directors of revenue operations, VPs of revenue operations, and chief revenue officers (CROs) who are fast adopters of what we like to call the essential revenue software stack.

In this stack, we see four necessary core capabilities, all critically interconnected. The four core capabilities are:

  1. Revenue enablement.
  2. Sales engagement.
  3. Conversational intelligence.
  4. Revenue operations.

These capabilities run on top of three foundational technologies that most growth-oriented companies already use — agreement management, CRM and communications. We will dive into these core capabilities, the emerging leaders in each and provide general guidance on how to get started.

Revenue enablement

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Watch the first TechCrunch Early Stage ‘Pitch Deck Teardown’

Accel’s Amy Saper and Bessemer’s Talia Goldberg gave great advice

Have you ever taken something apart, like a clock or a motor?

The method is particularly useful when it comes to learning how things work — or how they don’t, in some cases.

During TechCrunch’s Early Stage event, two venture capitalists took pitch decks and evaluated them with a critical eye on content, presentation and overall messaging. If you missed it the first time through, watch it below in its entirety.

The session was a blast. This was the first time we’ve hosted this event, but we’re working on bringing this session to TechCrunch’s main event, Disrupt, this September.

Accel’s Amy Saper and Bessemer’s Talia Goldberg gave great advice as we clicked through each deck. First impressions are everything, and pitch decks are often the first glimpse of companies by potential investors and business partners. It’s critical that these decks properly present and illustrate in a concise and effective manner the goals and potential of a company.

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UK’s Selina Finance raises $42M for its SMB loans platform based on home equity

When you need a loan, the cost and speed of getting it can be as critical to get right as the financing itself, a principle that might be even more relevant today in our shaky pandemic-hit economy than ever before. Today, a company that proposes to cut both the time and price for securing financing, with a platform, initially aimed at SMBs, that lets business owners put up their home property as collateral to get the loan, is announcing a funding round to expand its business.

Selina Finance, which provides loans to small and medium businesses in the form of flexible credit facilities — you pay back only what you borrow, and you do that over time, rather than in one lump sum — that are backed by the value of your personal home, is today announcing that it has raised £42 million ($53 million) — £12 million in equity and £30 million in debt to distribute as loans. The company says it plans to raise significantly more debt in the coming months as its business expands.

The funding is coming from several investors, including Picus Capital and Global Founders Capital — two firms that are tied in part to the Samwer brothers, which built the Rocket Internet e-commerce incubator in Berlin. The company’s valuation is not being disclosed.

London-based Selina plans to use the funding in a couple of areas: first, to continue growing its business in the UK, which was founded by Andrea Olivari, Hubert Fenwick and Leonard Benning and launched in June 2019; and second, to start the process of opening up to other markets in Europe.

Selina today focuses on SMEs whose applications qualify as “prime” (as opposed to sub-prime). They can borrow up to £1 million in funds — the average amount is significantly less, £150,000, says Olivari — with interest rates starting at 4.95% APR. That undercuts the rates on typical unsecured loans. Selina is also in the process of getting a license to expand its offering to consumer borrowers, too.

We’ve moved on from the days when property investing was so stable that “safe as houses” was a common expression to mean absolute reliability. But for most people, their properties continue to represent the single-biggest asset that they own and thus become a key part of how a person might construct their wider financial profile when it comes to borrowing money.

Selina’s tech essentially operates a kind of two-sided marketplace: on one hand, its algorithms process details about your property to determine its market value and how that will appreciate (or depreciate), and on the other, it’s evaluating the health of the SME business, and the purpose of the loan, to determine whether the borrower will be good for it. It’s only a year old and so it’s hard to say whether this is a strong record, but Benning notes that so far, no customers have defaulted on loans.

“We have the security of the home, yes,” he said, “but we only take credit-worthy customers to make sure the default scenario doesn’t happen. It’s something that we avoid at any cost. Technically there is a long process that leads to that outcome, but it almost never happens.” He noted that Selina has people on its team who have worked for sub-prime lenders, which gives them experience in helping to determine prime opportunities.

More generally, the idea of leveraging your property to raise capital — say, through a remortgage or loan against its value — are not new concepts: banks have been offering and distributing this kind of financing for years. The issue that Selina is addressing is that typically these deals come with high interest rates and commissions, and might take six to eight weeks from application to approval and finally loan. Selina’s pitch is that it can bring that down to five days, or possibly less.

“It’s critical that we can make a loan in five days to be be nimble and accurate, because this is one area where banks break down,” said Fenwick. “It can take two weeks to arrange for someone to walk around on behalf of a bank to make a valuation. It’s just a backwards and archaic process. We can use big data and tap different areas and dynamics all that into a model to assess the valuation of a property with a low margin of error.”

Selina is not the only tech company tackling this opportunity — specifically, Figure, the startup founded by Mike Cagney formerly of SoFi, is also providing loans to individuals against the value of their property, among other services. And for those who have followed other commerce startups financed by the Samwers, you could even say that there is a hint of cloning going on here, with even the sites of the two bearing some similarities. But for now at least Selina seems to be the only one of its kind in the UK, and for now that spells opportunity.

“Selina Finance is bringing much-needed innovation to the UK lending space by allowing customers to access the equity locked up in their residential property, seamlessly and on flexible terms,” said Robin Godenrath, MD at Picus Capital, in a statement. “The team impressed us with their strong focus on building a fully digital customer experience and have already achieved great product-market fit with their business loan use case. We’re excited and confident that Selina’s consumer proposition will also become an attractive alternative in the consumer lending space.”

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WhatsApp to pilot projects to deliver credit, insurance and pension to users in India

WhatsApp plans to offer credit, insurance and pension products to lower income individuals and those in rural areas in India and help digitize local small and medium-sized businesses as the Facebook -service looks to make a digital payments push in its biggest market by users.

The instant messaging app maker has been working with banks — including ICICI, Kotak Mahindra, and HDFC– in India for the past one year to explore ways to bring financial services to individuals who are yet to become part of the banking population, said Abhijit Bose, WhatsApp’s head in India at Global Fintech Fest conference via video chat on Wednesday.

This work over the past year has already proven that banks can leverage WhatsApp’s reach — with ICICI Bank and Kotak Mahindra reaching more than 3 million new users, said Bose, who announced that Facebook-owned app is now planning to work with additional partners to bring insurance, micro-pension and credit to lower wage workers and the informal economy over the next one and a half year.

WhatsApp will pilot several programs with partners to test solutions to bring these services to people, he said.

“Based on the results, we will co-invest and scale. Even a small conversion of the demand will translate into an infusion of significant savings into the financial system,” he said. “Over the next two years, we are committing to opening in entrepreneurial ways we never have before. We will launch many experiments.”

Banks today face a number of roadblocks such as the level of presence they have in a small city or town and their heavy reliance on middlemen to sell financial services that have limited the number of people they can reach, said Bose.

With a reach of over 400 million users in India — more than any other app in the country — WhatsApp is uniquely positioned to bring more people into the financial ecosystem.

Abhijit Bose, WhatsApp’s head in India, delivering a speech on Wednesday.

Facebook made clear of its plan to enter India’s digital payments market in 2018 when it launched WhatsApp Pay to a small number of users in the country. But the company has been stuck in a regulatory maze since then that has prevent it from rolling out WhatsApp Pay to all its users.

The company says it has complied with all the requirements mandated by New Delhi’s central bank, signalling that it could receive the final approval for a wide rollout of WhatsApp Pay any day now.

WhatsApp also plans to digitize businesses and help them secure working capital, said Bose. Facebook invested $5.7 billion in India’s top telecom operator Reliance Jio Platforms in April this year and said the two companies had agreed to explore ways to serve small businesses such as mom and pop shops.

“These small businesses are critical to the Indian economy. If you look at Facebook as a company, there has always been a focus on helping these businesses,” Facebook India head Ajit Mohan told TechCrunch in an earlier interview. “These small businesses, first-time entrepreneurs and new ventures leverage the Facebook platform to find new customers and expand to additional markets.”

Bose said Wednesday that he is hopeful that some of its financial services bets will work in India and it will be able to replicate those models in other markets.

At stake is India’s mobile payments market that Credit Suisse estimates could reach $1 trillion by 2023. Dozens of heavily backed local startups and international giants are competing to claim a slice of this opportunity. Google Pay and Walmart’s PhonePe currently dominate the market, TechCrunch reported last month.

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‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ and the limits of today’s game economies

“Animal Crossing: New Horizons” is a bonafide wonder. The game has been setting new records for Nintendo, is adored by players and critics alike and provides millions of players a peaceful escape during these unprecedented times.

But there’s been something even more extraordinary happening on the fringe: Players are finding ways to augment the game experience through community-organized activities and tools. These include free weed-pulling services (tips welcome!) from virtual Samaritans, and custom-designed items for sale — for real-world money, via WeChat Pay and AliPay.

Well-known personalities and companies are also contributing, with “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” scribe Gary Whitta hosting an A-list celebrity talk show using the game, and luxury fashion brand Marc Jacobs providing some of its popular clothing designs to players. 100 Thieves, the white-hot esports and apparel company, even created and gave away digital versions of its entire collection of impossible-to-find clothes.

This community-based phenomenon gives us a pithy glimpse into not only where games are inevitably going, but what their true potential is as a form of creative, technical and economic expression. It also exemplifies what we at Forte call “community economics,” a system that lies at the heart of our aim in bringing new creative and economic opportunities to billions of people around the world.

What is community economics?

Formally, community economics is the synthesis of economic activity that takes place inside, and emerges outside, virtual game worlds. It is rooted in a cooperative economic relationship between all participants in a game’s network, and characterized by an economic pluralism that is unified by open technology owned by no single party. And notably, it results in increased autonomy for players, better business models for game creators, and new economic and creative opportunities for both.

The fundamental shift that underlies community economics is the evolution of games from centralized entertainment experiences to open economic platforms. We believe this is where things are heading.

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Jack Ma’s fintech giant tops 1.3 billion users globally

The speculation that Alibaba’s fintech affiliate Ant Group will go public has been swirling around for years. New details came to light recently. Reuters reported last week that the fintech giant could float as soon as this year in an initial public offering that values it at $200 billion. As a private firm, details of the payments and financial services firm remain sparse, but a new filing by Alibaba, which holds a 33% stake in Ant, provides a rare glimpse into its performance.

Alipay, the brand of Ant’s consumer finance app, claims to earmark 1.3 billion annual active users as of March. The majority of its users came from China, while the rest were brought by its nine e-wallet partners in India, Thailand, South Korea, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Pakistan.

In recent years Ant has been striving to scale back its reliance on in-house financial products in response to Beijing’s tightening grip on China’s fledgling fintech industry. Tencent, Alibaba’s nemesis, is considered a lot more reserved in the financial space but its WeChat Pay app has been slowly eating away at Alipay’s share of the payments market.

In a symbolic move in May, the Alibaba affiliate changed its name from Ant Financial to Ant Group. Even prior to that, Ant had been actively publicizing itself as a “technology” company that offers payments gateways and sells digital infrastructure to banks, insurance groups, and other traditional financial institutions — rather than being a direct competitor to them. On the Alipay app, users can browse and access a raft of third-party financial services including wealth management, microloans, and insurance.

As of March, Ant’s wealth management unit facilitated 4 trillion yuan ($570 billion) of assets under management for its partners offering money market funds, fixed income products, and equity investment services. During the same period, total insurance premiums facilitated by Ant more than doubled from the year before.

In June, Ant’s new boss Hu Xiaoming set the goal for the firm to generate 80% of total revenues from technology service fees, up from about 50% in 2019. He anticipated the monetary contribution of Ant’s own proprietary financial services to shrink as a result.

Ant grew out of Alipay, the payments service launched by Alibaba as an escrow service to ensure trust between e-commerce buyers and sellers. In 2011, Alibaba spun off Ant, allegedly to comply with local regulations governing third-party payments services. Ant has since taken on several rounds of equity financing. Today, Alibaba founder Jack Ma still controls a majority of Ant’s voting interests.

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Robinhood raises $320M more, bringing its latest round to $600M at an $8.6B valuation

The stakes keep getting higher for American discount brokerage Robinhood, which today disclosed that it has added hundreds of millions of dollars to its previously disclosed funding round.

Including the $280 million that the company had already announced, Robinhood said that it was “pleased to share” that it “raised an additional $320 million in subsequent closings.” Its now $600 million funding round brings its post-money valuation to $8.6 billion. Fortune first reported the news.

(A detail, but the new capital is part of the same round as it was raised at the same price. TechCrunch reported when the company’s $280 million round was announced, the fintech company was worth $8.3 billion. Another $300 million in capital at a flat share price means that the company’s valuation should have risen by only the dollar amount added. As it did.)

Robinhood has had a good business year, even if some of its practices have come under fire. The company pledged to tighten up parts of its platform relating to more exotic trading after the suicide of one of its users, for example; a topic that TechCrunch discussed at length last week.

What is inescapable is that Robinhood is having one hell of a year. When it might go public isn’t clear, especially as the private company is having no problem raising capital without an IPO. But as its value continues to rise, it becomes an increasingly remote acquisition target.

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How European seed firm Connect Ventures finds ‘product-first’ founders

Connect Ventures, the London-based seed-stage VC that was an early investor in Citymapper and Typeform announced a new $80 million fund last month to continue investing in “product-led” founders.

Launched back in 2012, when there was a shortage of institutional capital at seed stage in Europe and micro VC was a novelty in the region, Connect Ventures invests in B2B and consumer software across Europe, including SaaS, fintech, digital health and “future of work.”

Running throughout the firm’s investment thesis is a product focus, with the belief that product-led — or “product-first” — software entrepreneurs are the kinds of founders most likely to transform the way we live and work at scale.

Connect Ventures does fewer deals per year than many seed-stage firms, promising to place bets in a smaller number of early-stage companies. It recently backed scaling startups such as Curve and TrueLayer. Keeping a compact portfolio lets the shop throw more support behind its investments to help tip the scales toward success.

To learn more about Connect’s strategy going forward, I put questions to partners Sitar Teli, Pietro Bezza and Rory Stirling. We covered what makes a product-first founder, the upsides and downside of “conviction investing,” and the next digital product opportunities in fintech, health and the future of work.

TechCrunch: Connect Ventures positions itself as a pan-European VC investing in “product-led” founders at seed stage. Can you be more specific with regards to check size, geography and the types of startups you look for?

Sitar Teli: Of course, I know it can be hard to differentiate seed funds at first glance, so it’s worth digging in one layer down. Connect is a thesis-led, seed stage, product-centric fund that invests across Europe. I know we’re going to dive into some of those parts later, so I’ll focus on our investment strategy and what we look for. We lead seed rounds of £1-£2 million (sometimes less, sometimes more) and make 8-10 investments a year. Low volume, high conviction, high support is the investment strategy we’ve executed since we started eight years ago.

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Lydia expands credit offering in partnership with Younited Credit

French startup Lydia is announcing a new partnership with Younited Credit, which lets you borrow anything between €500 and €3,000 and pay back within 6 to 36 months. The feature will be released in France at some point during the summer.

This isn’t the first time Lydia is playing around with credit. The company already partnered with Banque Casino to let users borrow between €100 and €1,000. But that feature was limited to short-term credit as you had to reimburse everything over three installments.

This time, you can borrow more money and you have more time to pay back your loan. Lydia will try to be as transparent as possible when it comes to interests. And there’s no fee in case or early repayment.

Compared to the first credit product, you can’t borrow money instantly. You apply for a loan in the app and get an answer within 24 hours. If you accept the offer, you have seven days to change your mind — it’s a regulatory requirement in France. You then receive money on your account.

By offering two different credit products, Lydia wants to cover more use cases. If something unexpected happens (your laptop broke down, you have to book an emergency flight, etc.), you can borrow as much as €1,000 in just a few seconds.

You receive the money on your Lydia account and you can start using it instantly using a virtual card, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, Lydia’s debit cards or Lydia’s peer-to-peer payments.

Fees on instant credit lines are pretty high as you pay 3.13% in interests and a one-time fee of €6.90 to €19.90 to receive the money instantly depending on how much you borrow.

If you’re planning a big purchase but you can wait a week, you can go through the new credit offering with Younited Credit . This isn’t the first time Younited Credit offers an integrated credit product with another fintech startup. For instance, N26 also offers credit lines with Younited Credit in France.

Lydia started as a peer-to-peer payment app with 3.5 million users in Europe. It recently raised a $45 million funding round led by Tencent. The startup now wants to build a marketplace of financial products. And integrating Younited Credit in the app seems in line with that strategy.

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