San Francisco-Based Kenyan Firm Raises $170M, Partners With Visa

Avatar
Written by Peter Pedroncelli

Fintech firm Branch International, which was founded in Kenya, has raised $170 million and announced a partnership with Visa to expand into Brazil and Indonesia.

The company, now based in Silicon Valley, offers personal loans for as little as $2 up to around $700 via mobile in emerging markets, according to Quartz.

It’s the largest African tech funding deal so far in 2019. The online micro-lending startup secured a $70 million series B in March 2018,Globenewswire reports.

Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 29: Alfred Liggins 

Jamarlin talks to Alfred Liggins, CEO of Urban One (NASDAQ: UONEK) about why he never merged with BET and whether going public inspired the Fox series “Empire”. They discuss the Democratic Party neglecting Black media when it comes to campaign ad spending, and the disconnect between Black CEOs and Obama.

Branch uses an algorithm to determine creditworthiness from smartphone data so that users can access credit.

It is partnering with credit card giant Visa to offer virtual, pre-paid debit cards to clients in Africa, South Asia and Latin America, according to Forbes.

The $170 million series C funding round was led by Silicon Valley-based Foundation Capital and Visa, with participation from B Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Formation 8 and Trinity Ventures.

Kenyan firm expanding globally

The investment, which is the largest African tech funding deal of 2019 so far, will be used to expand the company into Brazil and Indonesia.

Branch launched in Mexico and India in 2018. Its African markets include Kenya, Nigeria and Tanzania.

The company is already profitable and Branch co-founder and CEO Matt Flannery expects it to reach $100 million in revenues this year with around 70 percent of that generated in Africa, according to Techcrunch.

Kenyan firm
Branch International determines creditworthiness via phone data. AP Photo – Ariel Schalit

Branch has raised $254.7 million in six funding rounds since it was established in 2015, according to Crunchbase.

Trinity Ventures led the equity portion of the funding round, with participation from International Finance Corporation, Andreessen Horowitz and CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund.