- Jia has announced a $4.3 million funding round led by TCG Crypto.
- The blockchain-based fintech startup is building a platform that will reward customers with an ownership stake based on points earned after repaying their loans.
- The fundraising also attracted participation from BlockTower, Hashed Emergent, Saison Capital, and Global Coin Research.
Jia, a blockchain-based fintech startup focused on emerging markets on Wednesday announced a $4.3 million funding round led by TCG Crypto. The seed round also attracted participation from BlockTower, Hashed Emergent, Saison Capital, and Global Coin Research.
Not Boring founder Packy McCormick, Canonical Crypto’s Anand Iyer, alongside Jared Hecht and Rory Eakin, the founders of fintech lending companies Fundera and CircleUp participated as angel investors.
Jia said it will use the fresh capital to scale its operations in Kenya and the Philippines. The company also has plans to explore new markets in West Africa, Latin America and Asia.
Jia was founded in 2022 by former Tala executives Zach Marks, Cheng Cheng, Ivan Orone, and Yuting Wang.
Tala has grown to become one of the leading mobile lending apps in emerging markets with offices in Kenya, India, the Philippines, and Mexico. However, its former executives see an even more exciting opportunity in blockchain-based lending.
Jia will leverage the advantages of decentralised finance to create a blockchain-based reward program that enables customers to become part owners of the app when they repay their loans.
Borrowers receive tokens after servicing their loans. Those tokens can be redeemed at a pre-agreed-upon rate of Jia’s profits.
Commenting on the fundraising, Jia CEO and co-founder Zack Marks said: “The idea is to provide affordable financing for micro-businesses, and when they repay, they become owners by getting token rewards.”
According to Marks, each token grants the holder a claim to a stream of revenues from Jia’s lending protocol.
The company currently offers the tokens as Jia points that will become claimable once the token system is fully established, Marks told TechCrunch.
Jia first on-chain pool is built on the decentralised finance protocol Huma Finance. Huma finance allows users to lend and borrow against their income. It is one of the few verticals of crypto lending protocols.
Recently, NFT-backed lending has skyrocketed following the launch of Blend, a perpetual lending protocol that allows borrowers to service their loans at the time of their choosing.
The platform has attracted significant activity since launching earlier this month, with loans surging to $135 million within the first two weeks.
Jia offers loans of up to $5,000 to small businesses, with the smallest amount that a business can borrow set at $200. And according to Marks, the interest rates are competitively priced, with the company charging (2% to 6% interest per month) about one-third of what traditional fintech lenders charge.
The company’s loan repayment periods range depending on the borrower’s profile with some limited to three months, while others can extend up to six months.
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