27 December 2017

Africa: IFC to Take Up Stake in Mobile Lending Firm

World Bank's investment arm, International Finance Corporation (IFC), is set to become a shareholder in mobile lending company, Branch.

IFC plans to invest $3 million in the company that issues personal unsecured microloans in Kenya, Tanzania and Nigeria.

"Branch is raising Series B equity to finance its continued expansion. The proposed IFC investment is for up to $3 million in equity," said IFC in an investment disclosure note.

Earlier this year, the Branch management disclosed plans to raise $50 million in both debt and equity to expand to other markets.

It entered the Tanzanian market late last year before heading west to Nigeria in the second half of this year.

Branch has raised $15 million in equity and debt funding, mostly from global funds including Formation 8, Khosla Impact and Andreessen Horowitz, an investor in Facebook and Airbnb.

It was founded in 2015 by its current chief executive, Matthew Flannery, chief operating officer, Daniel Jung, and chief technology officer, Random Bares.

It has disbursed a cumulative Ksh3.63 billion ($35 million) loans in Kenya where its customer base stands at 350,000 individuals.

The loans are priced from 10 per cent to 23 per cent in Kenya and between 14 per cent and 34 per cent in Tanzania depending on one's credit rating.

Branch lends amounts as low as Ksh250 ($2.5).

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