Investment Round is our weekly update on which firms have secured new funding, which areas are seeing the most financing, and who is putting up the cash that enables these companies to keep pushing the capabilities of mobile marketing further.
India’s Largest Online Lender Secures $45m in Series C Round
Digital lending platform Capital Float has just completed a Series C round of funding that has brought $45m (£35m) into the firm, led by Palo Alto-based fintech investors Ribbit Capital. Returning investors Sequoia India, Creation Investments and SAIF Partners also participated in the round, and the company has also secured $67m in new debt lines from banks and other financial institutions over the past 12 months.
Capital Float plans to use the funds to expand its lending efforts, branch out into new geographical markets and invest in products and technology. The firm plans to particularly focus on loans to small merchants in India, as the country sees increasing investment in eCommerce from traditional retail, manufacturing and service businesses. The company currently has around 15,000 customers, and is looking to double its assets under management by March 2018.
The funding round marks Ribbit’s fourth investment in the Indian financial services sector, and its largest so far. It has previously invested in Policy Bazaar in 2014, and Zest Money and Money View in 2015. Capital Float’s major selling point is its proprietary credit-scoring and underwriting algorithms, which provide it with greater agility and flexibility.
“We see two major trends unfolding and Capital Float embodies both of them,” said Nick Shalek, partner at Ribbit Capital. “There has been an enormous gap between supply and demand in credit in India, and second, Indian businesses and consumers, in our opinion, are looking for modern brands that serve them well online and on mobile. I think the opportunity for investors like us is to back entrepreneurs with great technology teams and focus on innovation who can build financial brands.”
Tulip Retail Set to Bloom After $40m Investment
Retail mCommerce platform Tulip Retail has announced a $40m Series B funding round, led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, with Mood Rowghani, general partner at Kleiner Perkins joining Tulip’s board of directors. Existing investors including Jump Capital were also involved in the round, which will enable Tulip to keep up with increasing demand it has been seeing from companies in Europe, South America and Asia.
“Tulip is now the leader in mobile solutions for retail store workers and this investment will only strengthen that position,” said Ali Asaria, CEO of Tulip. “We selected Kleiner Perkins because their vision for the future is as ambitious as our own. As investors in technology pioneers like Amazon, Google, Slack, and Stripe, Kleiner Perkins has a track record of working with founders to think bigger and longer term when it comes to strategy and market opportunities. We will use this funding to continue to invest in innovation and resources focused on making our customers even more successful.”
Tulip’s technology provides retailers with tailored applications for consumers across all segments, and enables store associates to access more knowledge and real-time data on customer preferences, all via tablet or smartphone. The company has deployed nationwide store rollouts with global brands including Toys’R’Us, Bonobos, Saks Fifth Avenue, Kate Spade, Frye Boots and Coach. As well as supporting international demand, the firm plans to use this investment to support innovation and developing new products.
Fintech Platform Prodigy Finance Raises $240m to Support International Students
Global fintech platform Prodigy Finance has announced $240m in fundraising, coming from a combination of a $40m Series C equity round and a $200m debt facility led by a global investment bank. Prodigy Finance provides postgraduate loans to international students with no alternative access to finance, using a unique global credit model that assesses applicants based on projected earnings, rather than historical credit.
The fundraising will help the company increase its operational expansion and provide additional funding for students taking postgraduate degrees in business, engineering, law and public policy at the world’s top 100 universities. To date, more than 80 per cent of the firm’s borrowers have had no alternative access to student loans or similar financial support.
“Students from emerging economies such as China, Brazil and India face challenges in accessing financing for education, even with high credentials and excellent credit quality,” said Cameron Stevens, founder and CEO of Prodigy Finance. “This investment will help us double the size of our student portfolio. We believe in financial inclusion and talent mobility, and look forward to continuing to help international students break the funding barrier and further their education at a top international university.”
Immersv Raises $10.5m to Bring VR to Mobile Advertising
Immersv, an interactive advertising platform for mobile 360-degree video and virtual reality, has closed a $10.5m Series A round of financing, led by Rogers Venture Partners, with participation from Foundation Capital, The Venture Reality Fund, HTC Vive, Initial Capital and more. Paul Sestili, general partner at Rogers Venture Partners, and Hironao Kunimitsu, founder and CEO of mobile game developer Gumi, have both joined Immersv’s board of directors.
The financing builds on a year of significant product and market momentum for the firm, which combines interactive 360-degree advertising with a programmatic real-time bidding platform to bring a new generation of mobile VR campaigns to consumers. The company has recently signed programmatic deals with more than 15 large DSPs and SSPs, with partners now including Tremor Video, YuMe, Bidswitch, ironSource and Supership.
Immersv plans on using the funds to accelerate its product development and deployment, rapidly expanding is available inventory through direct publishers and SSP integrations, and bringing global brands and performance marketers into mobile 360-degree video and virtual reality. The company is currently focused on pre-roll and interstitial video ads, but is also exploring ways of introducing native immersive experiences into mobile web pages.