Microlender Tala, whose phone app-based system has enabled $1 billion in small loans around the world, raised $110 million from a group of venture capital firms that will help it expand in India, hire workers in its markets and introduce products.
PayPal is again among investors backing Los Angeles-based Tala, which has loaned $1 billion in $10-to-$500 loans to customers in Kenya, Tanzania, Philippines and Mexico. The round was led by RPS Ventures and values the fintech firm at almost $800 million, according to news reports. As part of the financing, Kabir Misra, founding general partner of RPS Ventures, will join Tala’s board of directors.
Founded by Shivani Siroya, Tala has made 4 million loans to consumers and small business owners in emerging markets. Customers secure three-to-six loans per year at a 10% average monthly interest rate to invest in businesses, such as shops and food stands.
“With nearly half of the global population unable to access basic financial services and participate in the formal financial sector, the world misses out on countless new ideas, businesses, and innovations,” Tala said when announcing the new funds. Siroya, 37, formerly worked as a banking and research analyst at the U.N. Population Fund.
- Tala said it plans to start serving West Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America. It’s preparing a microinsurance product and has piloted a financial education and coaching program.
- Tala now has gained more than $200 million in equity investments. It also has raised $100 million in debt.
- With its 600 employees spread across offices in Santa Monica, Kenya, Mexico, the Philippines and India, the company made Forbes’ Fintech 50 list earlier this year.
Karma Take: Microlending is becoming more mainstream, leading to millions of entrepreneurs gaining access to cash that they otherwise would never have had an opportunity to get.