Digital lending platform AiLend plans to expand in the CEE region

The fast-growing Albanian company wants to ensure fair and easy access to credit for everyone

Gentjan Zotaj is an entrepreneur who brings together international expertise in Finance, IT development, and Analytics. He is the founder and CEO of Green Leaf – Business Solutions and Consulting, Greg and AiLend. His companies provide services in RegTech and FinTech domains in Europe and Asia.

Before founding Green Leaf in 2014, his professional life developed through projects delivered for some of the leading Banking Groups in Europe – like Unicredit, Raiffeisen Group, Sber Bank Europe, and Erste Group.

AiLend, a fintech company which states is mission is to “ensure fair and easy access to credit for everyone, whenever they need it”, recently partnered with Raiffeisen Bank Albania. Listen to Mr. Zotaj talk about AiLend’s plans for the future below.

Transcript of the video

Why do they plan to expand into other Central and Eastern European countries?

We love Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). It feels home whenever traveling over the region. The people, the culture, the food, the ifestyle as well as our problems look to be the same. We understand each other in good and bad. We had an amazing experience with Raiffeisen Bank in Albania with a very successful launch and we see it as a natural path to extend over the Balkan and CEE region.

Which countries are of interest to them and why?

We will start with Kosovo, considering the reach is easier and practically we speak the same language. Kosovo will help to prove the scalability of the concept. We need to see the operational model not just as a technical topic, but as legal, cultural, and business ones, before moving on to other Balkan countries such as Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia, and up north-east.

In parallel with Kosovo, we have started talks in Southeast Asia, where we see similarities between us. We consider the market over there a “Balkan in steroids”, considering the market size, structure and, the energy of the people to be very similar.

How do they plan to do it?

To enter a market firstly we need a partner and with roughly 7.5 million euros referred in three months, I believe we have a great value proposition for Raiffeisen Bank Kosovo. On the other side, the platform is multi-tenant, runs on the cloud, and already passed security-related tests. All this allows us to be up and running in a short time.

What are their strategies?

We are an alternative digital channel for a traditional business. Our focus is the user experience and everything we have created is based on being agile. We understand, change, and deploy daily features without affecting the performance and service to existing users. Data, technology and agility focused on delivering value to the end-user is our strategy.

What are their concerns/ obstacles they might be facing or expecting?

It takes longer to sign a contract than enter a market. Being a fintech, as cool as it might sound, comes with a ton of paperwork to deliver. Each country has its specifics and there are processes that we need to go through. Yet, as described above most of the paperwork is done considering that besides user-experience, the most important topic is security. And we have done our homework in this regard.

And in the end, how do they plan to succeed?

This is like a summary question. We have a proven business model, a brilliant team, a platform, and a tech stack that allows implementing our vision with agility and above all, we have the vision to become the first Albanian Unicorn. Let’s see what happens, so far it has been an amazing journey.