Noticed this tidbit on twitter today that mentioned Upstart:
"We’re proud to announce we’ve raised $145 million in Series E funding to continue building the world’s most accessible financial services. Welcome @Upstart & @StellarOrg! And thank you @KindredVentures, J. Safra Group, @IVP @revolution @Lowercase & @PayPal
At Tala, we’re working to build the world’s most accessible financial services.
More than 6 million people have used our app to pursue their financial goals with confidence, all from their phone. Previously overlooked, our customers continue to drive the success and evolution of our product.
Together, they’ve borrowed more than $2.7 billion across Kenya, the Philippines, Mexico, and India to start and expand small businesses and manage day-to-day needs. They’ve used over 680,000 access points and mobile agents to cash out and repay how they prefer and have spent more than 108 thousand hours reading over 156 educational articles in our app. They have also given Tala more than 1 million 5-star reviews, making us one of the top finance apps in markets we serve. More than 12,000 people sign up for Tala everyday. And we know they need more services.
Today, we’re proud to announce a $145 million Series E fundraise led by Upstart with participation from the Stellar Development Foundation. New investors Kindred Ventures and the J. Safra Group also joined, along with existing investors IVP, Revolution Growth, PayPal Ventures, and Lowercase Capital, to bring our total funding to more than $350 million.
We’ll use this investment to provide those services and accelerate the rollout of our new financial account experience, which provides fresh new tools to grow, save, and manage your money. We’ll also work to develop one of the first mass-market crypto products for emerging markets to help make crypto solutions more affordable and equitable for those who need them most.
And according to Tala’s about page:
Tala offers digital financial services to help the traditionally underbanked borrow, save and grow their money. Our consumer credit app is the world’s most accessible, instantly underwriting and disbursing loans to people who have never had a formal credit history. Loans range from $10 to $500 with rates as low as 4%.
Powered by advanced data science and machine learning, we built a modern credit infrastructure from scratch. Anyone with an Android smartphone can apply for a loan, get an instant decision and receive funds directly to their account. We’re building new tools to help users manage their money and pursue their goals.
Is this a way for Upstart to gain a foothold into international expansion?
I will also make note of Lenddo, which I had researched before but I don’t think I ever posted here. They were like Tala, but is now facing bankruptcy (https://www.techinasia.com/lenddoefl-face-bankruptcy-600k-un…) thanks to very poor executive management. They too had promised to increase credit approval rates and lower default rates of the underbanked in countries outside of the USA. Hopefully Tala will be different and they will be successful in providing a first mover advantage for an international Upstart in the future.