Kreditech, the AI-based near-prime loans platform, nabs $22M under new CEO to expand globally
Cash advances (or simply, loans) continue to be a lucrative area for startups to tackle. By leveraging new AI-based tools to evaluate potential customers, the network effect of the internet and the quick efficiency of digital money transfer, they’re taking on incumbent banks to disrupt a consumer lending market estimated to be worth some $284 billion in 2018 and around $300 billion this year.
Today, one of the earlier players in the space that specifically targets emerging economies is announcing a round of funding to expand its business: Kreditech, the Hamburg, Germany-based provider of loans and point-of-sale financing to near-prime borrowers in countries that include Poland, Spain, Russia and India, has picked up €20 million ($22 million).
The funding is being led by Russian VC Runa Capital, with participation also from an unnamed German private investor, and previous investors HPE Growth and Amadeus Capital Partners, along with unnamed fintech angels. Valuation is not being disclosed, but as a point of reference Kreditech was valued at around €500 million in its last fundraise. Other investors in the company include Peter Thiel, Rakuten and the IFC.
This is an equity round that it will be using to continue building its business specifically in the latter of those four countries — doubling down on the fact that India is not only one of the world’s biggest economies, but one of the fastest-growing, too. It’s also a country where Kreditech has been working to build its business for years at this point: its last big funding round before this was in 2017, when Naspers’ PayU invested €110 million in the company as part of a strategic partnership to offer Kreditech financing in India.
Kreditech was founded originally around the idea of using AI to make better assessments of potential borrowers in developing economies (and manage the underwriting using that data and automation), the idea being to target those who have little or no credit history behind them. The company started to shift this strategy in 2017 to concentrate instead on “near prime” borrowe