Introducing the Jia Team: Launching a next-gen lending solution on the Huma Protocol

Jia is set to launch a next-gen lending solution powered by the Huma Protocol, offering blockchain-based financing to MSMEs in Asia and Africa. With backing from prominent DeFi and fintech investors, the project aims to provide much-needed financing options to small businesses in developing markets, fair and fast.

Jia is building a transparent, receivables-backed on-chain credit pool on the Huma Protocol, which will allow investors to back lending programs in Africa and Asia. Prior to the launch, we would like to introduce the team of global experts whose vision is advancing the promise of both the Huma lending platform and the broader DeFi lending space.

Jia's mission is to create a world where everyone has control over their financial destiny. To achieve this, they are building a global financial community that allows small businesses to access capital, earn rewards for their contribution to the economy, and build wealth for their families.

The founders of Jia, Zach Marks and Cheng Cheng, both have a decade of experience in microfinance and fintech, where they saw the need for alternate forms of financing to help communities left out by the traditional financial system.

Zach began his career in South Sudan, providing financing to farmers to grow their businesses and feed the population following a civil war. Cheng started her career in Tanzania, helping finance community banks.

After working in traditional microfinance, Zach and Cheng moved to fintech to deliver solutions providing financial access at scale. Yet after working at a leading consumer finance company for over five years, they realized that despite new technologies, the lending industry was still too transactional. Rates were too high, and terms were too inflexible, which left little room for small businesses to create real wealth for themselves and their communities. They started Jia to create a new system where all parties, borrowers, and lenders are rewarded for the value they provide.

In many parts of the world, it is difficult, if not impossible, to access credit cards or apply for small business loans. Jia was created to change this. Enabled by blockchain technology, Jia can fairly serve millions of business owners who were formerly unable to secure loans at affordable rates, while providing them with real ownership in the very system from which they are borrowing. Simply put, they believe in a fair and efficient new arrangement where everyone wins.

Jia is led by a team of global experts in credit, capital markets, fintech products, and data science-powered lending.

  • CEO Zach Marks has over 10 years of experience in emerging markets finance, including launching microfinance initiatives across Africa and Asia as a consultant at McKinsey & Co., and leading digital finance portfolios with Tala, where he served as General Manager of its India lending business as well as Director of Business Development. He graduated from Yale University and is a Fulbright Fellow.

  • Chief Product Officer Cheng Cheng led global business expansion for Tala, a pioneering consumer fintech lender in emerging markets, and served as Senior Director of Product, developing a new line of affordable, flexible credit products. Prior to Tala, she oversaw wholesale financing to village community banks in Tanzania with WorldVision. She holds degrees from Columbia University and Renmin University of China.

  • Head of Credit, Finance & Data Science Yuting Wang has successfully managed multi-billion dollar credit portfolios at leading fintech lenders including EarnIn, WePay, Tala, and

  • Head of Engineering Ivan Orone has architected some of the most successful consumer fintech apps in Africa, including Sendy, where he served as Principal Engineer, and Tala, where he built a tech stack capable of scaling to reach millions of borrowers around the globe.

Jia raised an oversubscribed $4.3M seed round from leading DeFi and fintech investors including TCG Crypto, BlockTower Capital, Saison Capital, Draft Ventures, Hashed Emergent, Flori Ventures, Global Coin Research, Spice Capital, Awesome People Ventures, and Compa alongside prominent crypto investors such as Packy McCormick (Not Boring), Anand Iyer (Canonical), Avi Zurlo (Delphi), and Kinjal Shah (Blockchain Capital); and fintech lending executives Rory Eakin (CircleUp) and Jared Hecht (Fundera).

Join our Twitter Spaces on May 3, 2023 to learn more.

About Jia: Jia is expanding financial freedom across the globe. Jia provides blockchain-based financing to small businesses, then rewards borrowers who repay with ownership, enabling them to create wealth and prosperity for themselves and their communities. Learn more

About Huma Finance: Huma Finance is an income-backed DeFi protocol for the 99%. It enables businesses and people around the world to use their income and receivables as collateral to borrow against. Learn more

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