Branch International, a micro-lending platform fighting it out with Tala and Operas Okash has raised $5m to bolster its local lending operations in Kenya and grow its product portfolio.
With operations in Nairobi, San Francisco, Mumbai, Mexico City and Lagos, the firm announced the issuance of a fourth commercial note of Ksh 500 million after repaying the third note of a similar amount.
According to Dan Karuga, East Africa General Manager for Branch: “With the high rate of smartphone adoption in emerging markets, Branch is uniquely positioned to leverage its advanced use of data science to underwrite and provide credit and other financial services to more customers than ever before.”
The latest funding brings the total capital raised locally to more than KES 1.5 billion via commercial paper issuances arranged by the Centum-owned advisory firm, Barium Capital.
This capital supplements the KShs 17 billion raised earlier this year from top international investors, including the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation, Visa, Foundation Capital, Trinity Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz.
Branch’s approach to commercial paper issuance has been largely ground breaking. It is one of the first early-stage technology companies to successfully raise debt in the local market.
“Our investor base continues to be keen to be part of Branch’s growth story and we’re proud to have secured them an opportunity to do so,” said Teresia Muthoni, Barium Capital’s Managing Director.
With the growing use of smartphones in Africa, Branch is opening up financial access to people who are left out of the banking industry by the use of data science. The firm’s algorithms process thousands of data points to create personalized loan options in a matter of seconds.
The company’s first product offering is lending, with plans to expand into savings and payment products in the future.
Branch has raised more than $100 million in investment from top-tier firms including Andreessen Horowitz, Trinity Ventures, IFC, Victory Park Capital, Barium Capital, 8.vc, Khosla Ventures and CreditEase.