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PayPal-backed money lender Tala raises $110M to enter India

Tala, a Santa Monica, California-headquartered startup that creates a credit profile to provide uncollateralized loans to millions of people in emerging markets, has raised $110 million in a new financing round to enter India’s burgeoning fintech space.
The Series D financing for the five year-old startup was led by RPS Ventures, with GGV Capital and previous investors IVP, Revolution Growth, Lowercase Capital, Data Collective VC, ThomVest Ventures, and PayPal Ventures also participating in the round.
The new round, which takes the startup’s total fundraising to over $215 million, valued it above $750 million, a person familiar with the matter told TechCrunch. Tala has also raised an additional $100 million in debt, including a $50 million facility led by Colchis in last one year.
Tala looks at a customer’s texts and calls logs, merchant transactions, overall app usage, and other behavioral data through its Android app to build their credit profile. Based on these pieces of information, its machine learning algorithms evaluate the individual risk and provide instant loans in the range of $10 to $500 to customers.
This model is different from how banks and most other online lenders assess a person’s eligibility for a loan. Banks look at a user’s credit score while most online lenders check the financial history.
Tala is also much faster. It approves loans within minutes and disburses the money via mobile payment platforms. The startup has lent over $1 billion to more than 4 million customers to date — up from issuing $300 million in loan to 1.3 million customers last year, Shivani Siroya, founder and CEO of Tala, told TechCrunch in an interview.
The startup, which employs more than 550 people, will use the new capital to enter India, said Siroya, who built Tala after interviewing thousands of small and micro-businesses.
In the run up to launch in India, Tala began a 12-month pilot program in the country last year to conduct user research and understand the market. It has also set up a technology hub in Bangalore, she said.
PayPal-backed money lender Tala raises $110M to enter India
Shivani Siroya (Tala CEO) at TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2017
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