The firm has officially launched in Nigeria too, after reaching 450,000 customers in Kenya who have collectively taken out 2m loans totalling KSh 4 billion.
“Branch has achieved something unique in the Kenyan market. Despite being a startup that’s less than 3 years old, they have managed to issue a competitively-priced paper without relying on any external guarantees”, said Teresia Muthoni, General Manager of Advisory at Nabo Capital.
Since launching in the Kenyan market in the spring of 2015, Branch has seen strong demand for its unsecured loans. Applications for up to KSh 50,000 can be made via the Branch Android app, with successful applicants receiving their loans via M-Pesa in seconds.
The mobile lender has reached a monthly disbursement run-rate of KSh 400m and is growing its loan book by 15% every month. Branch used its loan book as collateral for the facility in one of the first deals of its kind.
Daniel Szlapak, Director of Africa for Branch, explains that the company will look to debt funding to expand its business worldwide. “We expect to raise close to $50 million dollars in both equity and debt funding in the months ahead as we take the Branch App to emerging economies across the globe.”
The company expanded to Tanzania in 2016 and has recently started lending in Nigeria. Other markets across the globe will follow. Branch uses proprietary machine learning algorithm to make lending decisions. It uses advanced data science to calculate a credit score for its customers by analysing the information on their phone. Branch’s toughest competitor is Silicon Valley-based and heavily funded Tala formerly known as Mkopo Rahisi.
In December 2015, Branch became the first African company to raise investment from US firm Andreessen Horowitz, whose portfolio includes Facebook and AirBnB, closing a $9.2m Series A round. The mobile-based financial services company has since raised over $15m in equity and debt funding to date.