Fintech – London Company – Prodigy Finance – who loans money to postgraduate students from developing and emerging market who are studying overseas.has raised $US240 million (£186 million) in debt and equity funding.
Investors include London venture capital funds Index Ventures and Balderton Capital, as well as African fintech accelerator AlphaCode have invested $40m while an unnamed “global” investment bank is providing a further $US200 million debt facility to help it finance loans.
Prodigy Finance helps promising students in places like India, China, and Africa fund their university studies by connecting them with rich alumni who will loan them money based on future earning potential. Founded in 2007, Prodigy has financed $US325 million of loans over its platform, helping 7,100 students.
The platform has partnered with top universities around the world including London Business School, Oxford, Cambridge, INSEAD, Stanford, Wharton, and Harvard.
“Our major acquisition channel is the universities” says CEO Cameron Stevens. “We’re solving a very real problem for them. If you’re a domestic student, there are 300 options for where you can get a loan. For an international student, there isn’t. The universities have a real problem and we’re solving that.”
Ilian Mihov, the dean of INSEAD, said in a statement: “About 25% of our students are funded by Prodigy Finance loans and they come from all over the world, many from countries where it would be difficult to get a bank loan or other forms of financing.”
“It’s an important source of funding at INSEAD and helps contribute to diversity, as we have over 90 different nationalities represented. Diversity is essential to our DNA, as it’s a source of creativity and understanding.”
Prodigy Finance is targeting expansion in America, where the business launched last year. The funding will increase the capacity to fund on the platform to be able to give more loans to more people, particularly in the US.
Index Venture’s Neil Rimer said in a statement: “Every decade, the number of international students doubles and our hope is that Prodigy Finance will help accelerate that growth. Our planet sorely needs more educated citizens of the world”