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Tala clinches $110 million for inclusive micro-lending and alt-credit scoring

ImpactAlpha, August 22 –Santa Monica-based Tala was an early entry in alternative credit-scoring, using “daily life” information to underwrite small loans of $10 to $500 for informal business owners and unbanked adults. The underwriting analysis includes data points like how busy an owner’s shop is or when their inventory arrives, as well as transaction data from borrower’s mobile phones.

Tala has seen extraordinary growth in the past year. It tripled its loan originations to $1 billion since raising a $65 million Series C round last year. It now serves four million customers in Kenya, Tanzania, the Philippines, Mexico and India and says its repayment rates are above 90%.

The company’s $110 million Series D funding round will support an expansion effort in India in particular. The round was led by RPS Ventures, with backing from GGV Capital and prior investors IVP, Revolution Growth, Lowercase Capital, Data Collective VC, ThomVest Ventures and PayPal Ventures. 

Tala is also investing in its underwriting platform, recently undertaking a study on algorithmic bias. “We don’t want to include things in our models that could bias us against customers unfairly,” founder Shivani Siroya said in an article last year for Wired. “We don’t add gender. We don’t add location. We don’t add the number of languages someone speaks.”

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