FUNDING

Investors pumps Sh16.1 billion in Tala

The firm intends to use the funds to accelerate the rollout of its new financial account experience

In Summary
  • Every day, more than 12,000 new users globally sign up for Tala’s services.
  • Tala has delivered more than $2.7 billion in credit to more than six million customers
Tala East Africa managing director Ivan Mbowa
Image: HANDOUT

Digital lending firm Tala has received $145million (Sh16.1 billion) funding from a list of investor-led by  Upstart and the Stellar Development Foundation.

New investors Kindred Ventures and the J. Safra Group, along with existing investors including IVP, Revolution Growth, Lowercase Capital, and PayPal Ventures also joined the round, which brings Tala’s total funding to more than $350 million( Sh38.8 billion).

The firm intends to use the funds to accelerate the rollout of its new financial account experience, which provides customers with fresh tools to borrow, save and manage their money.

Tala also plans to grow its team across Kenya, the Philippines, Mexico, India and the United States and pull forward plans for both geographic and product expansion, including crypto offerings.

The firm is already testing its new product lines in early 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic accelerated demand for digital financial services.

In addition to payments and savings, Tala’s evolved account will offer an expanded range of personalized credit options, including longer-term loans and credit that can be configured to match customers’ income cycles.

Since launching in Nairobi in 2014, Tala has delivered more than $2.7 billion in credit to more than six million customers across Kenya, the Philippines, Mexico and India.

Every day, more than 12,000 new users globally sign up for Tala’s services.

Leveraging the Stellar network, Tala will also use the funding to develop the first mass-market crypto product for emerging markets, advancing a core promise of digital currency ecosystems by making more affordable and equitable financial tools available to populations that can benefit the most from the crypto economy.

As part of this fundraising, Paul Gu, co-founder of Upstart and Denelle Dixon, CEO and Executive Director of the Stellar Development Foundation, have joined Tala’s board of directors.

“Tala has spent the past seven years delivering critical and valued services in markets where the financial system is fundamentally broken for millions of people,” said Shivani Siroya, founder and CEO, Tala.

Siroya added that the new investment will accelerate the firm's path to becoming the primary financial account for the global underbanked and helping millions more people make progress in their financial lives.

“We are excited to build upon the incredible foundation we have established as one of the most customer-centric, inclusive and most loved fintech brands in Kenya”  Ivan Mbowa, East Africa managing director, Tala said.

 “Upstart shares Tala's belief that technology is the key to unlock access for the underserved, and we're excited to support them in serving the next 1 billion people entering the financial system,'' Paul Gu, Co-Founder and head of Product at Upstart said.

“Joining forces with Tala to improve access to financial services for millions of people in emerging markets is exactly aligned with our mission,'' Stellar Development Foundation CEO Denelle Dixon said. 

 Nearly three billion people globally are poorly served by the formal financial system, with little to no options to support their financial agency and independence.

In Kenya, Tala has joined forces with other digital lenders to streamline the sector by partnering with lawmakers and regulators to establish a safe business environment for both stakeholders.  

It leverages mobile technology and data science to serve the people that traditional financial institutions can’t or won’t, helping them better use, protect, and grow their money, so they can pursue whatever matters most to them.