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Tala raises $145m Series E to become largest financial platform for the global underbanked

By Edlyn Cardoza

October 18, 2021

  • COVID-19
  • Credit Management
  • digital currency ecosystems

Tala, Upstart, Stellar Development Foundation, USATala, the global technology company building the world’s most accessible financial services, recently announced 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, along with existing investors including IVP, Revolution Growth, Lowercase Capital, and PayPal Ventures also joined the round, which brings Tala’s total funding to more than $350 million.

Tala will use the investment to accelerate the rollout of its new financial account experience, which provides customers with fresh tools to borrow, save and manage their money, all through Tala’s consumer finance app. Tala will also grow its world-class team across Kenya, the Philippines, Mexico, India, and the United States and pull forward plans for both geographic and product expansion, including crypto offerings.

Tala was already testing its new product lines in early 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated demand for digital financial services. Tala moved quickly to meet that demand, leveraging technology the company had developed to scale its pioneering mobile credit product and bridge digital and cash ecosystems across multiple geographies.

In addition to payments and savings, Tala’s evolved account will offer an expanded range of personalized credit options, including longer-term loans and credit that can be configured to match customers’ income cycles. Since launching in Nairobi in 2014, Tala has delivered more than $2.7 billion in credit to more than 6 million customers across Kenya, the Philippines, Mexico and India. Every day, more than 12,000 new users globally sign up for Tala’s services.

Leveraging the Stellar network, Tala will also use this funding to develop the first mass-market crypto product for emerging markets, advancing a core promise of digital currency ecosystems by making more affordable and equitable financial tools available to populations that can benefit the most from the crypto economy.

As part of this fundraise, Paul Gu, co-founder of Upstart and Denelle Dixon, CEO and Executive Director of the Stellar Development Foundation, have joined Tala’s board of directors.

“Tala has spent the past seven years delivering critical and valued services in markets where the financial system is fundamentally broken for millions of people,” said Shivani Siroya, founder and CEO, Tala. “This new investment will accelerate our path to becoming the primary financial account for the global underbanked and helping millions more people make progress in their financial lives. Paul Gu and Denelle Dixon are visionary leaders who share our commitment to building a financial system that works for everyone and we are thrilled to welcome them to the team.”

“Under Shivani’s leadership, Tala has begun to tackle the single hardest and biggest problem in consumer finance: enabling access to credit in the developing world,” said Paul Gu, Co-Founder and Head of Product at Upstart. “Upstart shares Tala’s belief that technology is the key to unlock access for the underserved, and we’re excited to support them in serving the next 1 billion people entering the financial system.”

“This Stellar Enterprise Fund investment represents our high confidence in Tala’s technology, traction, and leadership – supporting their growth made perfect sense,” said CEO and Executive Director, Denelle Dixon. “Joining forces with Tala to improve access to financial services for millions of people in emerging markets is exactly aligned with our mission at Stellar Development Foundation. Since the Stellar network leverages interoperability with the world’s existing financial systems, Stellar and Tala technology together are a powerful tool to bridge gaps for those who have been left out.”

Nearly 3 billion people globally are poorly served by the formal financial system, with little to no options to support their financial agency and independence. Tala leverages mobile technology and data science to serve the people that traditional financial institutions can’t or won’t, helping them better use, protect, and grow their money, so they can pursue whatever matters most to them. Tala’s award-winning consumer finance app is available to anyone with an Android phone in Kenya, the Philippines, Mexico, and India.

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