Venture Capitalists Are Having a Hot Deal Summer: Term Sheet

The summer of mega-deals continues — there’s three $100M+ funding rounds today. (Guessing at this point, no one’s going on vacation?) Today’s edition features Tala, a Santa Monica-based provider of micro-loans to individuals in the emerging markets.

The company raised $110 million in Series D funding. RPS Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including GGV Capital, IVP, Revolution Growth, Lowercase Capital, Data Collective VC, ThomVest Ventures, and PayPal Ventures. The deal values the company in the $700 million range, according to a person close to the funding.

My colleague Lucinda reports further: 

Here’s a simplified version of how the company evaluates customers in the absence of a established credit system: First, Tala determines whether or not an individual is who they say they are through a selfie and a photo of an identification card that is cross-verified with the customer’s digital footprint. If that checks out, the financial services firm goes forward with a loan.

The next step: determining loan size and repayment terms. Tala uses a mix of data that feeds into its algorithm, thought no one factor taking overwhelming weight. For instance, for a loan with Tala through its Android app, the consumer gives the firm access to some of their phone data including call logs, SMS, and transactional data that can act as proxies for predicting behavior. Say an individual is more likely to include both first and last names in their phone’s contact list—that could signal greater attention to detail and therefore a greater likeliness of repayment.

To be clear, how Tala determines creditworthiness is ever evolving in a bid to ensure that it’s both ethical and does not “leave money on the table” in what is a new world in big data and credit scoring. Increasingly, Tala has found that how their applicants interact with the app—for example, whether they read the Terms and Conditions, to be a more important way of determining a consumer’s ability to pay back a loan. And while Tala once took an individual’s foot-traffic into account, it has cut out geographic data from the mix out of concern that the information could exclude certain underserved populations from the mix.

Read the full story here.

IN GOLDMAN WE TRUST: Apple’s Goldman Sachs credit card has officially launched, and the Internet has lit up with excitement. The card lives in the iPhone’s Wallet app where purchases are automatically totaled and organized by color-coded categories. It’s clean, it’s beautiful, it’s Apple

Just one thing to note: Apple promises that Goldman “will never share or sell your data to third parties for marketing or advertising.” The caveat being that, “Of course, Goldman Sachs will use your data to operate Apple Card.” 

As my friend and CoVenture founder Ali Hamed said in March: “Fascinating that we’ve finally hit a point in time where people trust Goldman Sachs more than they trust tech companies.” A lot can change in a decade.

PEOPLE MOVES: Earlier this month, we reported that three members of startup studio Human Ventures — Joe Marchese, Nick Bell, and Ashlyn Gentry — will launch a new venture that targets media brands called Attention Capital.

Now, Term Sheet has learned that there have been several new additions to the team: Matt Resnick (formerly at Barstool Sports) joined as VP of finance and business strategy, Savannah Greene (formerly at Evercore Partners) as an associate, and Elissa Levine (previously at Fox) as a founding associate.

Read more:

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