B2B Payments

Branch International Secures $70M For Microlending To Underbanked

California-based Branch International, a startup providing mobile-first financial services, announced $70 million in funding.

A press release on Wednesday (March 28) said Branch International raised the Series B funding to expand into new geographic markets, with a particular focus on India. The company offers “branchless bank” services to underbanked consumers and small businesses. Its microloans range from $2.50 to $500.

Trinity Ventures led the investment round, which is made up of both debt and equity, reports said, while Victory Park, International Finance Corporation, Andreessen Horowitz and CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund also participated.

“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,” said Branch Co-Founder and CEO Matt Flannery in a statement. “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’s largest market is Africa, the company said, with more than 1 million borrowers overall. In addition to geographic expansion, the company wants to add to its offerings; the company provides financing services, noting it hopes to add savings and payments services moving forward.

“In America, financial services are well-established, and the smartphone market is mature. By contrast, millions of consumers in emerging markets lack access to basic financial offerings like credit. Meanwhile, smartphone adoption in those countries is accelerating at breakneck speed,” said Trinity Ventures General Partner Schwark Satyavolu. “Because of the confluence of these two megatrends — the tremendous gap in financial service offerings and the rapid rise of the platform able to deliver them — and because of the team’s incredible bench of talent, I’m excited to invest in Branch and am bullish on its future.”



The pressure on banks to modernize their payments capabilities to support initiatives such as ISO 20022 and instant/real time payments has been exacerbated by the emergence of COVID-19 and the compelling need to quickly scale operations due to the rapid growth of contactless payments, and subsequent increase in digitization. Given this new normal, the need for agility and optimization across the payments processing value chain is imperative.