SAN FRANCISCO, March 28, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Branch International, a mobile “branchless bank” for emerging markets, announces a $70 million Series B investment to expand its financial offerings to additional countries. With over a million unique borrowers, Branch is already the top finance app in Africa. Branch offers credit today and plans to diversify into savings and payments in the future.
Within emerging markets, 2 billion people and 200 million small businesses lack access to savings and credit, according to McKinsey. Branch aims to offer world-class financial products across these markets and will use part of its Series B investment to fuel its launch into India. Branch already processes tens of thousands of loans every day in amounts ranging from $2.50 to $500. The company is growing 20 percent month-over-month and expects to disburse over $250 million in 2018.
Emerging markets present a significant opportunity for the technology-led financial services industry to reach more than 1.6 billion new retail customers as well as grow individual and business loan volumes by $2.1 trillion.
Trinity Ventures leads the $70M Series B, which combines debt and equity. Trinity Ventures General Partner Schwark Satyavolu, who spearheaded the investment for the firm, will join the Branch board of directors. Other Series B participants include Victory Park, International Finance Corporation (IFC), Andreessen Horowitz and CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund. Anju Patwardhan, Managing Director of CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund, will join as a board advisor. The Series B brings Branch’s total investment to $80 million in the three years since its founding.
Branch co-founder and CEO Matt Flannery previously co-founded and served as CEO of the non-profit lending platform Kiva. That organization, which he led for 10 years, has disbursed over $1 billion in loans to entrepreneurs in over 80 countries.
“I've been working in Microfinance -- specifically in Africa -- my whole career. Over the past decade, I witnessed the rapid spread of technology in the region. Microfinance has been slow to adopt mobile technologies, and customers have not reaped the benefits of quicker access to capital and more efficient pricing. After years of trying to change microfinance institutions from the outside, I decided to start one myself,” said Flannery.
“In America, financial services are well-established, and the smartphone market is mature. By contrast, millions of consumers in emerging markets lack access to basic financial offerings like credit. Meanwhile, smartphone adoption in those countries is accelerating at break-neck speed,” said Trinity Ventures general partner Schwark Satyavolu. “Because of the confluence of these two megatrends – the tremendous gap in financial service offerings and the rapid rise of the platform able to deliver them – and because of the team’s incredible bench of talent, I’m excited to invest in Branch and am bullish on its future.”
“IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has been one of the leading global investors in microfinance for over 20 years. We’re excited about the potential of technology to transform the sector,” said Paulo de Bolle, IFC’s Global Director of the Financial Institutions Group and a member of the Fintech Investment Committee. “Through its innovative and accessible use of mobile technology, Branch will deliver financial services to millions of underserved customers in Africa and other emerging markets.”
Branch delivers world-class financial services to the mobile generation. A for-profit socially conscious financial technology company based in San Francisco, Lagos and Nairobi, Branch uses data science to dramatically reduce the cost of delivering financial services in emerging markets. Founded by the pioneers of microlending as well as leaders in finance and technology, Branch has received more than $80 million in investment from top-tier firms including Andreessen Horowitz, Trinity Ventures, 8.vc, Victory Park, IFC, Khosla Ventures and CreditEase. www.branch.co
About Trinity Ventures
Trinity Ventures is a top-tier venture capital firm combining business insight, practical expertise and a personal touch to help start-ups win big. For over thirty years, Trinity has helped passionate entrepreneurs with breakthrough ideas transform markets and lives. Trinity's investment team takes a collaborative approach and believes in personal engagement, mutual respect and goal alignment to deliver outsized returns to entrepreneurs and investors. The firm invests in early stage technology companies with emphases on Cloud Infrastructure and Core Technologies, Consumer Driven Services, Horizontal Business Applications, Industry Specific Services and Emerging Technologies. For more information, visit www.trinityventures.com.
IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world. In FY17, we delivered a record $19.3 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to help end poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org