Mobile lending app Branch banks whopping $170m

Branch, a fintech app which specialises in offering loans to people without bank accounts in developing countries, has raised $170 million in Series C funding. The round was led by Foundation Capital and Visa.

The investment round also saw participation from existing backers including Andreessen Horowitz, Trinity Ventures, Formation 8, the IFC, Credit Ease and Victory Park, along with new investors Greenspring, B Capital and Foxhaven.

Founded in 2015 by CEO Matthew Flannery, the lending app harnesses the power of data science and mobile tech to reduce the barriers of providing loans in emerging markets. It analyses a customer’s smartphone data and uses machine learning algorithms to determine loan eligibility.

“I’ve known the Branch team since right after the company was founded,” said Charles Moldow, general partner at Foundation Capital.

“After tracking them for years, it has become clear to me that emerging markets are one of the biggest growth areas for fintech. Our history of successful fintech investments is evidence that we know how to spot true innovators, like Branch. The team has executed incredibly well and is poised to become the cross-border financial super-app.”

Branch boasts of more than three million customers and has processed 13 million loans since it was established in 2015. The company has also announced a strategic partnership with Visa.

“We started Branch in Kenya, where M-Pesa gives anyone with a phone – including the unbanked – access to digital credit,” said founder Matthew Flannery. “Unfortunately, mobile money isn’t available in most countries. With the help of Visa, now we can send cash to any ATM and reach the underserved around the planet.”

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