Branch app, an online financial micro lending platform is seen on a mobile phone in this photo illustration taken May 23, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya/Illustration
San Francisco – 10 April 2019: Branch, the most downloaded finance app in Africa, announced a new global partnership and investment from Visa (NYSE: V). The two companies share a vision of bringing financial access to billions of people still unreached by banks. Visa’s investment in Branch will help expand financial access across the African continent, while fueling new expansion in India and Latin America.
Branch and Visa will team up to offer virtual prepaid debit card numbers to customers around the world. This enables unbanked Branch customers the option to receive credit at any physical ATM, bypassing the need for a bank account.
“We started Branch in Kenya, where M-Pesa gives anyone with a phone -- including the unbanked -- access to digital credit. Unfortunately, mobile money isn’t available in most countries. With the help of Visa, now we can send cash to any ATM and reach the underserved around the planet,” says Matthew Flannery, CEO and co-founder of Branch.
Traditional barriers such as a credit score and bank account make financial accessibility a challenge for over 2 billion people in the world. Yet many in underserved markets have a financial tool right in their pocket -- their mobile phone. By tapping into the rise of mobile technology worldwide, Branch aims to radically expand financial access, making full global inclusion a reality in our lifetime.
“At Visa we believe financial empowerment is an essential passport out of poverty,” said Bill Sheedy, Executive Vice President of Strategy at Visa. “Our partnership with Branch provides Visa a key distribution mechanism to reach people that were previously out of reach and help shape the future of microfinance.”
Today, Branch is also announcing the close of its Series C financing, a $170M round led by Foundation Capital and Visa. And joining this round of investment are existing investors, Andreessen Horowitz, Trinity Ventures, Formation 8, the IFC, CreditEase, and Victory Park as well as new investors, Greenspring, Foxhaven, and B Capital.
“I’ve known the Branch team since right after the company was founded,” said Charles Moldow of Foundation Capital, who will be joining the Branch Board of Directors. “After tracking them for years, it has become clear to me that emerging markets are one of the biggest growth areas for fintech. Our history of successful fintech investments is evidence that we know how to spot true innovators, like Branch. The team has executed incredibly well and is poised to become the cross-border financial super-app.”
ABOUT BRANCH INTERNATIONAL:
Founded in 2015, Branch delivers world-class financial services to the mobile generation. With offices in San Francisco, Lagos, Mexico City, Mumbai and Nairobi, Branch is a global, socially conscious company that uses the power of data science and mobile technology to reduce the barriers of delivering financial services in emerging markets. With over 3 million customers and 13 million loans processed, Branch International has disbursed over $350 million. In addition to credit, Branch intends to roll-out to high-yield savings accounts to customers this year.