San Francisco-headquartered lending company Branch International has raised $170 million (Rs 1,180 crore at current exchange rates) in a Series C round of funding led by US-based Foundation Capital and multinational payments firm Visa, a company statement said.
Venture capital firms Greenspring and B Capital and investment firm Foxhaven came on board as new investors. Existing investors Andreessen Horowitz, Trinity Ventures, Formation 8, the International Finance Corporation, Credit Ease and Victory Park also put in money, the statement added.
The company will use the capital to build its operations in India, Charishma Chotalia, general manager of Branch India, said in the statement.
The company, which entered the Indian market last month, is among the first few to get a mobile-only non-banking financial company licence in India from the Reserve Bank of India. The micro-lending startup disburses loans from Rs 500 to Rs 50,000 in the country and is available as an app on the Google Play Store.
Users can create their profile on the app. Once the details are verified, they can borrow money directly into their bank accounts and can repay using debit or credit cards as well as via UPI. The company also plans to roll out high-yielding savings account services for users in 2019.
“India’s digital lending space has created an immense opportunity for players like us. Our previous rounds of funding helped us expand our services to new countries and with the current funding and partnership with Visa, we expect to enable Branch customers to access cash from any ATM around the world. We are aligned with our global goal of building a fair, secure and robust digital lending ecosystem in emerging markets such as India,” said Matthew Flannery, chief executive and co-founder of Branch in the statement.
The company was founded in 2015 by Flannery and Daniel Jung, who is the firm’s chief operating officer. It started operations in African countries such as Kenya, Tanzania and Nigeria and has offices in San Francisco, Lagos, Mexico City, Mumbai and Nairobi.
Deals in the digital lending segment
The consumer-focused online lending sector has seen multiple players, focusing on different target segments and use cases, secure capital.
- In January this year, Mumbai-based LoanTap Financials, which lends to salaried professionals and gives overdraft facilities, raised $8 million in a round led by venture capital firm 3one4 Capital.
- In the same month, online loans marketplace ZestMoney raised venture debt from Alteria Capital as part of a stretched Series A round of $13.4 million led by device maker Xiaomi.
- Last month, microlending company RedCarpet Technology raised $3.89 million in a round led by existing investor Lightspeed India Partners.