Wired: In 2009, a man named Duncan Chege opened up a modest Internet cafe – if you could even call it that – in Nairobi, Kenya. In the beginning, the cafe, called Vision Computers, had just one machine. After 3 years of committed operation by Chege, that number grew to 8, some of those machines being slow and clunky second-hand desktops. (more…)
TECHINASIA: These are just a few quotes from the media about an industry that has received its fair share of global criticism over the years – the payday lending industry. In Australian media coverage, you’d be hard-pressed to find a positive word spoken about what is described as “the fastest-growing component of Australia’s finance sector” to date. Australia’s leading business publication, the Australian Financial Review, recently reported on Cash Converter’s $23 million double class action settlement, for overcharging customers on interest rates.
EU-STARTUPS: In the last decade, there were a bunch of really successful fintech companies that started in Europe. Companies like Klarna, Adyen or Transferwise (to name just a few) changed the way we do payments or the way we transfer money overseas. By pursuing radical new concepts, these fintech startups became some of Europe’s most valuable companies within just a few years.
TECHCRUNCH: Former Disrupt Battlefield participant Self Lender has raised a $1.5 million round of seed capital from Silverton Partners, who wrote the full check. The new cash comes after the firm raised a prior total of $535,000 from TechStars, Kickstart Seed Fund, and Galvanize Ventures. To date, Self Lender has raised $2.035 million.
WIRED: Funding Circle, a marketplace for business loans, is one of a growing number of companies working to upturn that trend, and bring an end to the lack of choice beyond the incumbents. The UK firm has leant more than $1.2bn in the past five years to thousands of businesses in UK and US, facilitating $100m of new lending every month. It has achieved this by operating in the same way some of the world’s most successful tech companies have. (more…)
TECHCRUNCH: Lendingkart, a New Delhi-based platform for small businesses loans, has raised a Series A of $10 million from Saama Capital, Mayfield Fund, Shailesh Mehta, and Ashvin Chadha. Since launching a year ago, Lendingkart has processed loans from 50 cities and 17 states across India. It will use its new capital to expand into all towns and cities in India, improve its credit scoring technology, and hire more employees.
Bloomberg: As more Chinese jumped into the market in the hope of instant wealth, peer-to-peer websites offering loans for stock investing have mushroomed. They are among a multitude of sources of leverage outside of traditional margin financing that threaten to complicate any efforts to prevent an unruly reversal of China’s stock market boom, which is already faltering. (more…)
Business Insider: Banks have historically handled most consumer and small business lending because they have the resources to assess a borrower’s creditworthiness, and the regulatory approval to fund loans. However, this model has some key inefficiencies – interest rates are not individualized, the costs of underwriting loans are high, loan decisions can take months, and small businesses in particular have been shut out of the process. (more…)
RE/CODE: Having dabbled in online slideshows and fertility tracking, PayPal co-founder Max Levchin has swung fully back to his online money roots. Affirm, the online lender where Levchin is co-founder and CEO, has now raised $275 million. The “vast majority” of the round is debt that the company expects to lend out to its customers, an average of $400 at a time. (more…)
CROWDFUND INSIDER: Zopa, the first peer to peer lender in the UK, has partnered up with another innovative firm UBER. The now (almost) ubiquitous ridesharing / cab replacement company is entering into a new service. UBER and Zopa have created a new marketplace that will assist UBER drivers who are looking to move from renting an auto to purchasing the car. The new agreement is expected to “help thousands of UBER drivers reduce their costs each month” but lowering monthly costs. Certainly an interesting incentive for new drivers to join the UBER team. (more…)
TECHINASIA: Online finance and lending platforms have been exploding in China, and the P2P lending sector is especially hot. In April we saw Xiaomi-backed Chinese P2P lending site Jimubox and Sequoia-backed P2P lending site PPDai raise massive series C rounds, and now that the month is over we’ve got data on the market as a whole. And that data, which comes from Yingcan Zixun, says that P2P web lending had its best month ever. (more…)
TECHINASIA: Peer-to-peer lending is one of the hottest – if not the hottest – business model in China’s venture capital scene right now. P2P lending startups are getting funded left and right, with new names entering the game each week. The pace of these companies flooding the market has risen so dramatically that we’ve largely given up on covering all of them. (more…)
TECHCRUNCH: Here comes some more funding for a European financial tech company specialising in online loans. Germany’s Smava — a peer-to-peer lending platform where investors provide the funds to loan money to borrowers — has raised $16 million in funding led by Phenomen Ventures, along with existing investors Earlybird and Neuhaus Partners. Phenomen’s track record in fintech investments includes backing Prosper, the U.S.-based peer-to-peer lending marketplace. The investment takes the total raised by Smava to nearly $30 million. (more…)
TECHCRUNCH: Time to make way for another startup juggernaut out of the financial world. Funding Circle — a London-based peer-to-peer platform for small businesses to get loans, and investors to put up money to finance those loans — is today announcing that it has raised $150 million in venture funding, in a round that we have confirmed values the startup at over $1 billion. While partial news of the financing leaked out earlier this month, now we have the full details. This latest round was led by DST Global, with participation also from Baillie Gifford, a fund managed by BlackRock, Sands Capital Ventures and Singapore’s Temasek. (more…)
TECHINASIA: Meeting Capital Match co-founders Pawel Kuznicki and Kevin Lim, it feels like they are well on their way to bridge the gap between a technology company and big finance. Dressed in button-up shirts and dark trousers, I get the feeling they’re going to advise me about loans rather than discuss setting up a tech startup. It’s a good thing, then, that they are here to do both. (more…)
TECHCRUNCH: WeFinance, launching today, is the latest startup to use a combination of technology and crowdfunding in order to offer borrowers lower interest rates on loans, while reducing lenders’ risk. The new peer-to-peer lending platform operates something like a Kickstarter for personal loans – largely those in the range of $10,000 to $20,000, and many of which are being used to help borrowers fund their educational expenses, including tuitions, bootcamps, financial support during unpaid internships, and more. (more…)
TECHCRUNCH: During April, the nation will observe Financial Literacy Month – meaning it’s time to revisit the diverging roads to funding early-stage startups. The rise of non-traditional routes for raising capital, such as Kickstarter, has catalyzed a much-needed renaissance in funding options for entrepreneurs. With the passing of the JOBS Act, entrepreneurs have a bevy of new opportunities for raising seed funding, beyond the ever-illusive Silicon Valley checkbook. There are going to be complications associated with making sense of what funding route is best for your company and product needs, but sometimes the answer will reside in a combination of options. (more…)
LifePay has launched 2 new products in its line: online acquiring and SME-lending for working capital (in a month they are launching POS-lending – when entrepreneurs sell their goods and services on credit – this model is used by FinanceIt) (more…)
FINOVATE: Kabbage has announced plans to move into the Australian market with a white-label offering of its small business lending technology. The launch in Australia represents Kabbage’s first foray into the Asia-Pacific region, having already been in operation in both the U.K. and the U.S. (more…)
FINOVATE: Runa Capital has announced its participation in a $20.5M funding round of the American SME-lending platform Lednio. The round included participation by some large VCs, namely, Napier Park Financial Partners and Blumberg Capital. Lendio plans to use the capital to develop its SME-lending product, marketing and to expand its partnership program. According to the company’s representatives, it’s the third venture round for Lendio. The company has raised a total of $31M since 2011. Runa Capital joined the pool of its investors in 2013.
TECHCRUNCH: Online lending platform Avant has acquired ReadyForZero, a Y Combinator-backed startup that helps consumers better manage their personal debit and credit using online financial software, the companies are announcing this morning. Financial terms are not being disclosed, but Chicago-based Avant had plenty of funds to play around with, having raised$334 million in equity capital, in addition to nearly a billion in debt.
WIRED: Long ago, your parents probably gave you some advice: never borrow money from a friend. More importantly: never let your friends borrow from you. If the movies have taught us anything, it’s that mixing money and friendship rarely ends in anything other than blood and tears.
Skylar Woodward wants you to forget all about that. Woodward is the CEO of Puddle, a recently-launched service that lets you borrow money from your social network instead of through traditional avenues like banks and credit cards. Explained in brief: Throw money into a digital pot and you can take out five times as much as you’ve put in when you need it. So for example, say you throw $10 into your Puddle; that automatically gives you a credit line of $50 that you can dip into whenever you need. $100 turns into $500 and $500 into $2,500. You can choose to pay off the borrowed monthly installments over either three or six months. No interest beyond a set fee for every month you’re paying back (this incentivizes early repayment Puddle says). Sound crazy? It’s really not. (more…)