Tala to use Kshs 6.5 billion to hire new talent in Kenya, expand services in India, Mexico

Tala, a provider of loans via mobile phones for underserved consumers, has announced a Kshs 6.5 billion (US $65 million) in new investment to power the growth of its consumer lending app.

Tala operates in Kenya, Tanzania, and the Philippines, where it has delivered credit to nearly 1.3 million customers and originated more than US $300 million.

The company plans utilize the funds to focus on product development and growing human talent capacity in Kenya and expand its services to cover Mexico and India.

In Kenya, Tala has disbursed over 5.6 Million loans to over 1 million customers with an origination value Kshs 28 billion (US $280 million). Tala, which was Kenya’s first unsecured smartphone lender, has over 2.7 million APP downloads in country.

The Series C investment is led by Revolution Growth. Additional participants include existing investors IVP, Data Collective, Lowercase Capital, Ribbit Capital, and Female Founders Fund.

The round brings Tala’s total fundraising to more than Kshs 10 Billion (US $105 million). Steve Murray, managing partner at Revolution Growth, will join Tala’s board of directors.

“We are excited about how Tala is using mobile devices and data-science to unlock this huge unmet opportunity and serve a market that is underserved by traditional financial institutions,” said Steve Murray, Managing Partner at Revolution Growth. “Under Shivani’s vision and leadership, the company has grown to become one of the leading mobile-first lenders in emerging markets and is enabling millions of customers with no credit history to start businesses and participate in the global economy.”

“With more than 3 billion underserved consumers globally, Tala’s ultimate aim is to deliver meaningful products and services that build radical trust with our customers and put more people in control of their financial lives,” said Tala’s founder and CEO Shivani Siroya. “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. We couldn’t ask for a better partner in Revolution, who shares our dedication to bringing investment and opportunity to underserved communities. We are thrilled to welcome Steve Murray to our phenomenal team of investors and advisors as Tala enters this next phase of growth.”

Tala uses thousands of alternative data signals from applicants’ mobile devices to instantly underwrite customers who have little or no formal credit history. Anyone with an Android smartphone in Tala’s markets can download the Tala app, apply for a loan, and receive an instant decision. Tala disburses loans of between Ksh 1,000 and Kshs 30,000 to a mobile wallet with more than 85% of Tala’s customers receiving credit in less than 10 minutes.

Tala has more than 215 employees across offices in Santa Monica, Nairobi, Dar Es Salaam, Manila, Mexico City, Mumbai, and Bangalore. In March, Tala added a new VP of Market Growth, Anay Shah, formerly an early employee at Remitly, where he helped launch 11 new markets as Head of Partnerships and ran growth for their largest market as Regional Director.

In Kenya, Tala is led by Rose Muturi who has been instrumental in steering and building the business since joining the company last year. Rose said the company’s customers in Kenya average between 18 – 40 years of age and are skewed more towards borrowing for business needs.

“This year, Tala customers can look forward to continued product improvements, including new terms and features,” Ms Muturi added.

Kenya is Tala’s largest office outside of the US, with more than half of its engineering team. Kenya has also been a launchpad for its expansion into Tanzania, where the company recently surpassed the 100,000 customer mark in less than a year of operations.

Tala is a mobile technology and data science company committed to financial inclusion globally. More than 1.3 million people have borrowed through Tala’s smartphone app, which provides instant credit scoring, lending, and other personalized financial services in emerging markets. Tala has raised more than $105 million from leading venture and impact investors including Revolution, IVP, Ribbit Capital, Data Collective, and Lowercase Capital. Tala is headquartered in Santa Monica with additional offices in Nairobi, Manila, Dar Es Salaam, Mexico City, Mumbai, and Bangalore.

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