Chinese fintech conglomerate CreditEase’s venture fund CreditEase FinTech Investment Fund (CEFIF) has participated in the Series B investment round of $70m in fintech company Branch International.
International Finance Corporation (IFC), Andreessen Horowitz, Trinity Ventures and Victory Park also made strategic investments in this financing round.
Following this investment, CEFIF managing director Anju Patwardhan will join as a board advisor of Branch International.
Established in 2015, Branch International uses data science to provide financial services to more than one million borrowers in emerging markets.
With the new funding, the firm intends to expand further in the African market as well as introduce its services in India.
It is also planning to enhance its offerings beyond micro-lending into savings and payments.
Branch International co-founder and CEO Matt Flannery said: “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.”
Branch International processes thousands of loans every day ranging from $2.50 to $500. It expects that its total loan origination will exceed $250m this year.
Patwardhan said: “A financial revolution is taking place in emerging markets, supported by increasing penetration of smart phones, availability of alternative data sources and changing consumer mindsets.
“There is a huge unmet demand for financial services in emerging markets. FinTech companies like Branch are leveraging these mobile technologies and their deep local market knowledge to capture these unprecedented market opportunities and promote financial inclusion.”