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Mobile lending app Tala closes Sh6.5b investment, to expand to India and Mexico

Tala disburses between Sh1,000 and Sh30,000  in loans to 900,000 customers monthly with 70 percent using the loans for working capital/COURTESY

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 18 – Mobile financial services firm, Tala, has secured US$65 million (Sh6.5billion) in new investment to power the growth of its consumer lending app.

The company will use the funds to focus on product development and growing human talent capacity in Kenya and expand its services to cover Mexico and India.

Tala, which operates in Kenya, Tanzania and the Philippines, secured the Series C investment from Revolution Growth, with existing investors such as IVP, Data Collective, Ribbit Capital, Lowercase Capital and Female Founders Fund also topping up their stake.

The round brings Tala’s total fundraising to more than US $105 million (Sh10 Billion).

In Kenya, Tala has disbursed over 5.6 million loans to over 1 million customers with a value Sh28 billion (US$280 million). The app has over 2.7 million downloads in the country.

“We are excited about how Tala is using mobile devices and data-science to unlock this huge unmet opportunity and serve a market that is underserved by traditional financial institutions,” said Steve Murray, Managing Partner at Revolution Growth who now joins Tala’s Board.

With more than 3 billion underserved consumers globally, Tala’s ultimate aim is to deliver meaningful products and services that build radical trust with our customers and put more people in control of their financial lives,” said Tala’s founder and CEO Shivani Siroya.

“We are excited to bring our globally proven, customer-driven platform to additional markets where there is high demand for consumer credit and a significant underserved population.”

Tala uses thousands of alternative data signals from applicants’ mobile devices to instantly underwrite customers who have little or no formal credit history.

Anyone with an Android smartphone in Tala’s markets can download the Tala app, apply for a loan, and receive an instant decision.

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Tala disburses loans between Sh1000 and Sh30,000 to a mobile wallet with more than 85 percent of Tala’s customers receiving credit in less than 10 minutes.

Tala has more than 215 employees across offices in Santa Monica, Nairobi, Dar Es Salaam, Manila, Mexico City, Mumbai, and Bangalore.

In March, Tala added a new VP of Market Growth, Anay Shah, formerly an early employee at Remitly, where he helped launch 11 new markets as Head of Partnerships and ran growth for their largest market as Regional Director.

In Kenya, Tala is led by Rose Muturi who has been instrumental in steering and building the business since joining the company last year.

Kenya is its largest office outside of the U.S., with more than half of its engineering team.

Kenya has also been a launchpad for its expansion into Tanzania, where the company recently surpassed the 100,000 customer mark in less than a year of operations.

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