Based in D.C, Sou Sou is a Fintech startup that derived its inspiration from informal rotating savings groups in West Africa. In those groups, every member of a small group is required to contribute to a common fund for a particular period. The group after that decides on who will be given the pooled money for a given duration. The money is given to members in a rotational manner making everyone to get the same amount pooled at a given point.
Although it uses different names, the concept is used in different parts of the world. According to the co-founder and CEO of Sou Sou, Fonta Gilliam, the startup is not the module that they invented but one that is used by 80% of people globally. She added that they are modernizing and scaling the module. Sou Sou is aiming at putting up a way to borrow money for people with no credit, poor or low income who cannot access loans. The team came up with a mobile credit building and saving platform that can help them get credit from the bank.
Gilliam said that this is amongst the few modules proven to work with irrespective of the country. The idea of using loan and village saving models and using peer accountability motivates people to save. The module uses peer accountability to lure people to save into the circle. The platform also tracks the positive credit members are building from the loan to the credit rating agencies to help members develop their credit limits. The platform was designed to assist female entrepreneurs who have been underserved by venture capital, banks and investor funding.
The Sou Sou app links users using banks although white label API integration supported by an AI-driven algorithm. According to Gilliam an individual with below-average credit is in a position to increase his credit limits by 100% in six to twelve months. They can also increase their average credit in three-six months. Sou Sou is one of the pair of local startups participating in the latest cohort PeaceTech Accelerator taking place in D.C. there are ten selected early-stage startups to take part in the eight-week program which started in June 2018. Supported by the PeaceTech Lab incubated within the United States Institute of Peace, the accelerator helps startups in scaling by the use of cloud technology. It is a partnership between SAP NS2, C5 and Amazon Web Services.