Mobile technology startup Tala raised $145 million in a Series E funding round led by Upstart, with participation from the Stellar Development Foundation, along with new investors Kindred Ventures and the J. Safra Group. Existing backers IVP, Revolution Growth and Lowercase Capital also invested in the round.
Founded in Nairobi in 2014 by Shivani Siroya, Tala has raised a total of $350 million with this latest round. The funding will be used to speed up the rollout of new financial services tools — including crypto offerings — for borrowing, saving and managing money. Tala is also planning to grow its team across Kenya, the Philippines, Mexico, India and the U.S.
“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 Siroya.
She added that this round of funding will help the company further its strategic journey to become the “primary financial account” for people underbanked around the world, and to help millions “make progress in their financial lives.”
Tala’s account services will offer an expanded suite of personalized credit options in addition to payments and savings. Longer-term loans will also be available that are tailored to customers’ income cycles.
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The startup has so far extended in excess of $2.7 billion in credit to more than six million customers. The company adds over 12,000 new users every day around the world.
Paul Gu, Upstart co-founder and head of product, said Tala is tackling one of the central quandaries facing consumer finance: bringing credit access to emerging, underbanked economies. “Upstart shares Tala’s belief that technology is the key to unlocking access for the underserved,” he added.
Tala is using the Stellar Network to create a mass-market crypto product for emerging markets as it continues to work on “advancing a core promise of digital currency ecosystems” with affordable tools.