KENYA – Emerging markets digital lender, Tala, has raised US$145 million in Series E funding led by Upstart which was founded by Dave Girouard, Anna Counselman and Paul Gu who previously worked with Google.
Participants in the investment included Stellar Enterprise Foundation, a DeFi network, together with new investors J. Safra Group and Kindred Ventures.
IVP, Lowercase Capital, and Revolution Growth which are existing investors also joined the investment, bringing the funding raised to about US$360 million.
Tala plans to use the new investment to facilitate geographic expansion and grow its team across the four markets that it is currently serving and the United States.
Upstart, one of the investors, has helped banks and credit unions to process more than US$13 billion worth of loans, while another of the investors, Stellar Development Foundation, leverages interoperability with the world’s existing financial systems.
Sequel to the announcement, executive director and CEO of Stellar Development Foundation, Denelle Dixon, and Upstart co-founder, Paul Gu, will join Tala’s board.
Tala was founded In 2011 by Shivani Siroya and launched its mobile application in 2014 to offer credit and collateral-free loans to consumers in Kenya and has, afterward, expanded to Mexico, the Philippines, and India.
Tala uses the phone data and activities of its users to create credit scores which determine the credit amount a user is eligible to receive.
Tala has over 6 million customers, with 12,000 new users signing up every day, and has disbursed more than US$2.7 billion worth of credit since its inception.
Tala’s users have access to accounts and tools for borrowing, saving and managing funds, while also offering personalized credit options which include long-term loans.
It is transitioning to offer a wider spectrum of financial services and deliver more value across supply chains.
Speaking on the milestone the company has achieved with its app and its plans to expand, Shivani Siroya, CEO, Tala, said: “Our Android application has allowed over 6 million individuals to access our first product, which was access to credit and now we’re moving beyond that to become that full financial account for our customers. And, again, across our markets, that’s what we’re looking to do with this fundraise.”
Tala, which is backed by PayPal, plans to use blockchain-based finance to connect investors and borrowers on its platform and upgrade its capital market strategy.
It also seeks to make crypto affordable to its users and develop the first mass-market crypto product for emerging markets.
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