Branch, a quick loan application platform and digital financial services company announced the close of its Series C financing, a $ 170 million round of investment led by Foundation Capital and Visa.
Branch was founded in 2015. It uses the power of data science – an algorithmic approach to determine creditworthiness through customers’ smartphones.
With over 13 million loans processed and three million customers, the company has disbursed over $350 million.
The existing investors – Andreessen Horowitz, Trinity Ventures, Formation 8, the IFC, CreditEase, and Victory Park – as well as new investors – Greenspring, Foxhaven and B Capital joined this round of financing.
Branch has also entered into partnership with Visa – a global payments technology company – with the intention of expanding access to financial services in sub-Saharan Africa.
Branch and Visa will team up to offer virtual prepaid debit card numbers to customers around the world.
This enables unbanked Branch customers the option to receive credit at any physical ATM, thereby bypassing the need for a bank account.
Visa’s payment services will also be implemented into the Branch platform to give consumers the ability to make payments using a card or a mobile phone, as Visa looks to leverage mobile technology to digitize payments.
Visa’s Vice President for Strategic Partnerships, Fintech and Ventures, Otto Williams said “Traditional barriers such as a credit score and bank account make financial accessibility a challenge for millions of people. By focusing on digitizing payments, we aim to build a more digitally inclusive ecosystem”.
Branch is also looking to help merchants grow their businesses and drive financial inclusions among the small merchant segments that are often unable to access quick loans.
Thus, it will be offering preferential loan terms to Visa merchants and the loans will provide merchants who accept Visa on mobile Quick Response (QR) codes with funds to grow their business.
The service will be launched first in Kenya. It will then be extended across the region, particularly to Tanzania and Nigeria.