Fintech Startup Jia Secures $4.3M Seed Round to Ride Crypto Lending Boom

Fintech Startup Jia Secures .3M Seed Round to Ride Crypto Lending Boom

Quick take:

  • 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 a stake based on points earned after repaying their loans.
  • The fundraiser also attracted participation from BlockTower, Hashed Emergent, Saison Capital and Global Coin Research.

Jia, a blockchain-based fintech startup focused on emerging markets announced on Wednesday 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, along with 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 loan 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 benefits of decentralized finance to create a blockchain-based rewards program that allows customers to become part owners of the app as they repay their loans.

Borrowers receive tokens after servicing their loans. These tokens can be redeemed at a pre-agreed 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-enterprises, and when they pay back, they become owners by getting token rewards.”

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According to Marks, each token gives the holder a claim to a revenue stream from Jia’s lending protocol.

The company currently offers tokens as Jia points that can be claimed once the token system is fully established, Marks told TechCrunch.

Jia’s first chain pool is built on the decentralized finance protocol Huma Finance. Huma finance allows users to lend and borrow against their income. It is one of the few verticals for 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 a time of their choosing.

The platform has attracted significant activity since its launch earlier this month, with loans rising to $135 million in the first two weeks.

Jia offers loans of up to $5,000 to small businesses, with the minimum amount a business can borrow set at $200. And according to Marks, interest rates are competitively priced, with the company charging (2% to 6% interest per month) about a third of what traditional fintech lenders charge.

The company’s repayment periods vary depending on the borrower’s profile, with some limited to three months, while others can extend up to six months.

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