Mobile lender eyes India and Mexico after Sh6.5b funding

Tala received funding to expand to India and Mexico. [Courtesy]
Mobile lending firm Tala is expanding into the Indian and Mexican markets after a new round of successful investment raised Sh6.5 billion in fresh capital.

The mobile lender that launched operations in Kenya four years ago will be exporting the success seen in the Kenyan market where the majority of its users reside.

“We are excited to bring our globally proven, customer-driven platform to additional markets where there is high demand for consumer credit and a significant underserved population,” said Tala founder and Chief Executive Shivani Siroya.

Strongest market

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The new investment is led by US-based venture capital firm Revolution Growth and other existing investment partners, including IVP, Data Collective, Lowercase Capital, Ribbit Capital and Female Founders Fund.

It pushes Tala’s financial war chest to more than Sh10 billion, with much of this set for the Kenyan market.

The company has disbursed nearly $300 (Sh30 billion) to 1.3 million customers in Kenya, Tanzania and the Philippines.

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Kenya is Tala’s strongest market where the firm has disbursed 5.6 million loans valued at Sh28 billion to over one million customers.

This represents 93 per cent of its loan portfolio and interest income with the majority of borrowers said to be young people between 18 and 40 years old looking for entrepreneurship finance.

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Credit histories

Tala utilises data analytics based on users’ mobile use patterns to develop loan products for consumers with little or no formal credit histories.

“We are excited about how Tala is using mobile devices and data-science to unlock this huge unmet opportunity and serve a market underserved by traditional financial institutions,” said Steve Murray, managing partner at Revolution Growth.

The deal will see Mr Murray join Tala’s board of directors, with the firm seeking to plough the funds into broadening its service offering and hiring new staff.

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