Fintech funding round-up: 18 April 2018
Hot on the heels of yesterday’s (17 April) fintech funding round-up, we welcome the quartet of MFS Africa, Tala, Funding Societies and HelloGold.
MFS Africa has become the first African fintech funded by a China-based VC in a $4.5 million Series B round led by LUN Partners Group. Goodwell Investments, an Amsterdam-based firm, as well as several angel investors, completed the round.
According to MFS Africa, it operates the largest digital payments network in Africa – and it’s accessible via one API. The company connects over 170 million mobile wallets through 100+ partners, including Airtel, Ecobank, MTN, Orange and Vodafone across 55 markets. As part of the deal, MFS Africa will work with LUN Partners to tap into the financial inclusion market in countries targeted by China’s “Belt and Road” initiative.
US micro-loan start-up Tala (formerly InVenture) has got $50 million in Series C equity investment led by Revolution Growth. Additional participants include existing investors IVP, Data Collective, Lowercase Capital, Ribbit Capital, and Female Founders Fund. Tala has also recently raised an additional $15 million for its loan book. The round brings Tala’s total fundraising to more than $105 million. The new investment will be used to promote its consumer lending app in Mexico and India. It already operates in Kenya, Tanzania and the Philippines.
The firm says it uses a combination of Android and behavioural data to underwrite customers who have little or no formal credit history. Via an Android smartphone in Tala’s markets, users can download the app, apply for a loan, and receive an “instant decision”. Tala disburses loans between $10 and $500 to a mobile wallet or via payment rails of the customer’s choosing. It adds that more than 85% of Tala’s customers receive credit in less than ten minutes.
Singapore-based peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform Funding Societies (also known as Modalku in Indonesia), has raised $25 million in Series B funding. Led by SoftBank Ventures Korea, the funding round also includes existing investors Sequoia India, Alpha JWC Ventures (Indonesia) and Golden Gate Ventures. Qualgro and LINE Ventures also participated. As with the two companies above, Funding Societies wants a piece of the financial inclusion market – although specifically in Southeast Asia.
In January 2018, the platform says it crossed the SGD$100 million ($76.3 million) mark in crowdfunded SME loans, which marked a 300% growth of its loan book since the same period in 2016. Funding Societies adds that its platform has also increased its lender base beyond 60,000 in less than three years of operation.
Malaysia-based investment platform HelloGold has secured Series A funding from Silicon Valley venture capital firm 500 Startups. The funding will be used for the integration and testing of blockchain elements on its mobile app. The firm says it offers the “world’s first Shariah-compliant platform to buy, store and sell physical investment-grade gold”. HelloGold is migrating its platform to Ethereum smart contracts in H2 2018. The funding amount was not disclosed.
Earlier this year HelloGold launched GOLDX – its Shariah-compliant Ethereum ERC20 cryptocurrency “backed by 99.99% investment-grade gold” – using smart contracts to digitise gold and make gold exchangeable outside its platform.