Tala bags $145M funding to boost ‘inclusion’ plans


THE local business of Santa Monica, California-headquartered Tala Mobile LLC. announced the parent firm raised $145-million Series-E fundraise led by Upstart with participation from the Stellar Development Foundation Inc.

New investors Kindred Ventures Inc. and the J. Safra Group, along with existing investors including IVP, Revolution Growth, Lowercase Capital and PayPal Ventures also joined the round, bringing Tala’s total funding to more than $350 million, the company’s statement read.

Tala said it will use the investment “to accelerate the rollout of its new financial account experience, which provides customers with tools to borrow, save and manage their money, all through Tala’s consumer finance app.”

The company added that it 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”.

In addition to payments and savings, Tala said its “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 said it has delivered more than $2.7 billion in credit to more than 6 million customers across Kenya, the Philippines, Mexico and India. More than 12,000 new users sign up for its services every day, the company claims.

Tala said it will also leverage the funding from Stellar 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 the fundraise, Upstart Holdings Inc. Co-founder Paul Gu and Stellar CEO and Executive Director Denelle Dixon 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,” Tala Founder and CEO Shivani Siroya was quoted in the statement as saying. “This new investment will accelerate our path to becoming the primary financial account for the global underbanked and helping millions more people make progress in their financial lives.”

According to Tala Financing Philippines Inc., the company has already provided service to 1.6 million Filipino borrowers through its innovative mobile application.

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