Mobile lending app, Branch International has secured $170m series C funding to expand its operations, services and growth.
The funding is regarded as the largest funding rounds ever recorded by a startup operating in Africa.
The new Series C round was led by Foundation Capital and Visa. The round also saw the participation of long time Branch investor and VC industry heavyweight, Andreessen Horowitz. Other investors in this round include B Capital, Formation 8, and Trinity Ventures.
Founded in 2015, Branch International is a microlending app targeted at the African and other emerging markets. The app offers loans between $2.50 and $1000 to more than 2 million users.
It charges 15% on these loans and, like many other digital lending apps, Branch uses proprietary technology to ascertain the credit worthiness of users. But how it does this is an interesting discussion.
Once downloaded and registered, the Branch app accesses and analyzes several user data stored in their phones. For instance, the app analyzes users’ bank SMS alert to understand their bank balance. It also analyses other credit alerts such as payment receipts to get a hint of how much a user spends. Of course, the app requires user permission before gathering and developing its credit analysis.
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A report by India’s Economic Times indicates that Branch has processed 11 million loans and has disbursed over $250 million since 2015.
The firm presently operates in Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Mexico and India which started operation in March 2019 with further plans to expand to more countries before the end of 2019.
Since its founding in 2015, Branch has raised over $254.7 million across several funding rounds. Despite tight competition in this market in different African countries, the lending firm has secured the confidence of several high profile investors.