Tala, fintech for the underbanked, raises $145 million to expand globally and into crypto

Fintech start-up Tala said Thursday it raised $145 million in a Series E funding round that the company intends to use to expand its borrowing, savings and money management options across Kenya, the Philippines, Mexico, India and the United States, including crypto offerings.

Tala is a two-time CNBC Disruptor 50 company that ranked No. 20 on this year’s list, and has raised more than $350 million in venture funding from investors including PayPal Ventures, GV, and Revolution Growth.

The Santa Monica-based company says it can approve a loan within minutes and disperses the money via mobile payment platforms. Founder and CEO Shivani Siroya says it has lent over $1 billion to more than four million customers. It charges a one-time fee as low as 5% for each loan, and the company says more than 90% of its customers repay their loan within 20 to 30 days. Most are recurring customers.


Coronavirus gave rural USA a chance to lure young professionals to save their shrinking towns

Quintina Mengyan is one of millions of Americans who took the pandemic as an opportunity to give up an expensive apartment in a crowded city for a new life in regional USA.  

But she’s one of the lucky few lured to a picturesque mountain town with a cheque for $16,500 and other perks.

After months of living and working in a 55-square-metre Chicago apartment with her boyfriend and 36-kilogram dog Oberon, she was starting to get cabin fever. 

“It got a little bit cramped,” the 29-year-old said. 

“We couldn’t really do much in the city. There were a lot of restrictions … we wanted to get out.” 

West Virginia, a poor state with a rapidly shrinking population, capitalised on the fact that coronavirus had ushered in a new era for the American worker.

They suspected that professionals would demand the flexibility of remote work long after the pandemic ended. 


Video interview software business secures £630,000 investment

A Scottish tech-start-up has announced plans to become a global leader in video interviewing after securing a £630,000 investment to scale up its business in key markets.

Willo aims to continue growing the company and grow its presence in the US after receiving the additional funding from ex Freeserve chief operating officer Mark Danby, ex BT talent chief Susan McRoberts, and entrepreneur and Santander global head of digital mobility solutions Jose Ignacio Puente.

The recent investment from the high-profile individuals takes the overall investment in the Glasgow-founded tech firm to more than £1m.

The latest funding round was led by Guernsey-based early-stage tech investment firm 1818 Venture Capital, which also invested in Willo’s previous round.

Marc Cohen, partner at 1818 Venture Capital, will now join the company’s board.

The total investment of £630,000 has already been rubber stamped by HMRC ­and will be used to develop new products, speed up its marketing and grow the 17-strong Willo team with a series of new hires.

Its current growth plans will focus on the USA and Australia, where new team members have already been recruited, as well as expanding in the UK.


Alexis Ohanian on push for paid paternity leave and leadership in tech

Alexis Ohanian, Venture Capitalist, Founder of Seven Seven Six & Co-Founder and Former Executive Chairman of Reddit, joins Yahoo Finance to discuss the push for paid parental leave and his outlook on Reddit and Facebook.

Video Transcript

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: The United States is alone among wealthy countries in its lack of a national paid leave program. Instead, we’ve got a patchwork of federal, state, and local policies. But our next guest is working to change that. Alexis Ohanian is the founder of Seven Seven Six and co-founder and former executive chair of Reddit. And he joins us over the phone. Alexis, always good to have you here on Yahoo Finance. So look. You’ve been a long time advocate of national paid leave. For those who don’t know, when your daughter Alexis Olympia was born, you took four months off. Not a lot of Americans can do that.


Record-Setting Rivian IPO Could Spark More VC Investment Into Red-Hot EV Sector

Electric-truck maker Rivian filed paperwork to go public earlier this month, and is expected to be the largest IPO of the year. That’s especially significant given that Rivian is basically a pre-revenue company and 2021 is already the largest year ever for IPOs in terms of proceeds.

Rivian’s IPO is expected to round out a slew of IPO and SPAC deals from electric vehicle companies over the past year or so. That surge in prominent public-market debuts from EV companies could mean more demand—and funding—for startups that provide support and infrastructure for electric vehicles, industry watchers say. 


Here’s Which VC-Backed Companies Are Going Public Via SPAC This Year (So Far)

Going public through a special-purpose acquisition company is officially mainstream. Special-purpose acquisition companies, once looked down upon by Wall Street-types as a less respectable way to go public, have been forming and going public at an unprecedented pace this year.

While last year was considered a record year for SPACs, this year has already shattered 2020’s record.

And in the past year, the companies going public are no longer the under-the-radar types. Well-capitalized companies with brand-name recognition, like genetic testing company 23AndMe and online real estate buying platform Opendoor, are among the companies that have gone public or announced their intent to go public through a SPAC.


The Week’s 10 Biggest Funding Rounds: Augmented Reality, Cannabis And Smart Homes

This is a new weekly feature that runs down the week’s top 10 funding rounds in the U.S. Check out last week’s entry here.

This week, investors made a big leap into AR company Magic Leap—again. Aside from that big $500 million round, cannabis, smart homes and a lot of fintech all attracted big investments in the U.S. this week, which included a company seemingly crushed by the pandemic but now with an over $7 billion valuation.


$10 Million Alumni Donation Funds New Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science Building

A new building for computer science will materialize next to Gates Hall –– funded by a $10 million donation from Steve Conine ’95 and Alexi Conine ’96, and Niraj Shah ’95 and Jill Shah. 

This gift adds to the December nine-figure donation from Ann S. Bowers ’59, announcing the Cornell Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science, which includes computer science, information science and statistics and data science.

Shah and Conine first met at a Cornell summer program and decades later co-founded the online retailing platform Wayfair. The company was originally named CSN Stores and is now a publicly traded company with a revenue of $14.1 billion in 2020. 


Mark Cuban recommends investing in dogecoin for ‘fun,’ but says ethereum has the most upside when it comes to crypto

When it comes to crypto, billionaire investor and Shark Tank host Mark Cuban said ethereum might be the best bet.

“As an investment, I think ethereum has the most upside,” Cuban told CNBC Wednesday. So far this year, ethereum has multiplied its price five times, and is now worth $3,751.57, according to data from Coinmarketcap.

Cuban said he wished he had bought ethereum sooner because it’s the closest thing “to a true currency,” he said.

Ethereum uses code stored on blockchain called smart contracts, which enable two parties to exchange money without needing a middleman. Because these contracts have multiple use cases, like NFTs and DeFi, they have changed the crypto space, Cuban said in the CNBC report.