US-based fintech firm Tala to focus on growing India business after $145m Series E

Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg

Tala, a global technology company building accessible financial services, has raised $145 million in a Series E funding round 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.

Founded by Shivani Siroya and based in the US, 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, through Tala’s consumer finance app. Tala will also grow its team across Kenya, India, the Philippines, Mexico and the United States and pull forward plans for both geographic and product expansion, including crypto offerings.

The company entered India in 2020 and has already had more than half a million users sign up for the platform.

In addition to payments and savings, Tala’s new offerings will include 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. Tala leverages mobile technology and data science to serve people that traditional financial institutions are not serving, helping them better use, protect, and grow their money.

Tala’s core credit product provides microloans ranging from $10 to $300, with average ticket size of $150.

Tala also plans to use this funding to develop a mass-market crypto product for emerging markets.

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.”

Siroya added that the company’s loan portfolio was not impacted much by the pandemic. “Our portfolio became stronger after the pandemic. Customers were able to navigate the crisis. Our repayment rate is above 94%,” said Siroya.

Siroya added that while India is the company’s newest market, it expects to significantly ramp up the India business in 2022.

“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.”

The article was first published on livemint.com.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.