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 other countries. With over a million unique borrowers, Branch is already the best 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 in these markets and will use part of its Series B investment to fuel its launch in India. Branch already processes tens of thousands of loans every day for amounts ranging from $2.50 to $500. The company is growing 20% month over month and expects to shell out more than $250 million in 2018.
Emerging markets present a significant opportunity for the technology-enabled financial services industry to reach more than 1.6 billion new retail customers and grow personal and business loan volumes by $2.1 trillion. dollars.
Trinity Ventures is leading the $70 million Series B, which combines debt and equity. Schwark Satyavolu, general partner of Trinity Ventures, who led the investment for the company, will join Branch’s board. Other Series B participants include Victory Park, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Andreessen Horowitz and CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund. Anju Patwardhan, managing director of CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund, will join the board. Series B brings Branch’s total investment to $80 million over the three years following its founding.
Branch co-founder and CEO Matt Flannery previously co-founded and served as CEO of nonprofit lending platform Kiva. This organization, which he led for 10 years, has disbursed more than $1 billion in loans to entrepreneurs in more than 80 countries.
“I have worked in microfinance, specifically in Africa, throughout my career. Over the past decade, I have witnessed the rapid spread of technology in the region. Microfinance has been slow to adopt mobile technologies, and clients have not realized the benefits of faster access to capital and more efficient pricing. After years of trying to change microfinance institutions from the outside, I decided to start one myself,” Flannery said.
“In America, financial services are well established and the smartphone market is mature. In contrast, millions of consumers in emerging markets lack access to basic financial offerings like credit. Meanwhile, smartphone adoption in these countries is accelerating at breakneck speed,” said Schwark Satyavolu, General Partner at Trinity Ventures. “Because of the confluence of these two megatrends – the huge gap between financial services offerings and the rapid rise of the platform capable of delivering them – and because of the team’s incredible talent pool, I am delighted to invest in Branch and am optimistic about its future.
“IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has been one of the world’s leading investors in microfinance for more than 20 years. We are excited about the potential of technology to transform the sector,” said Paulo de Bolle, Global Director of IFC’s Financial Institutions Group and member of the Fintech Investment Committee. “Through its innovative and accessible use of mobile technology, Branch will provide financial services to millions of underserved customers in Africa and other emerging markets.”
About the branch
Branch provides world-class financial services to the mobile generation. A for-profit and socially responsible financial technology company based in San Francisco, Lagos and Nairobi, Branch uses data science to dramatically reduce the cost of providing financial services in emerging markets. Founded by microcredit pioneers as well as finance and technology leaders, Branch has received over $80 million in investments from leading companies including Andreessen Horowitz, Trinity Ventures, 8.vc , Victory Park, IFC, Khosla Ventures and CreditEase. www.branch.co
About Trinity Ventures
Trinity Ventures is a leading venture capital firm combining business vision, practical expertise and a personal touch to help start-ups win big. For over thirty years, Trinity has been helping passionate entrepreneurs with game-changing ideas transform markets and lives. Trinity’s investment team takes a collaborative approach and believes in personal commitment, mutual respect and alignment of goals to deliver outsized returns to entrepreneurs and investors. The company invests in early-stage technology companies with a focus on cloud infrastructure and core technologies, consumer-facing services, horizontal business applications, industry-specific services and emerging technologies . For more information, visit www.trinityventures.com.
IFC, a sister organization to the World Bank and a member of the World Bank Group, is the world’s largest development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with over 2,000 companies around the world, using our capital, expertise and influence to create markets and opportunities in the world’s most challenging regions. In fiscal 2017, we provided a record $19.3 billion in long-term financing to developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to help end poverty and boost prosperity shared. For more information, visit www.ifc.org