Tribal, a B2B financing and payment platform focused on emerging markets, raised a $40 million debt round from the Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) and the venture debt funding firm Partners for Growth (PFG).
The San Francisco-based company, which provides financing and payments services for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), received $20 million in Stellar USDC from SDF and $20 million in fiat from PFG, Tribal’s chief strategy officer Mohamed Elkasstawi told CoinDesk.
The integration of USDC into the Tribal ecosystem is intended to provide SMBs with “cheaper, easier and faster access to capital,” Elkasstawi said, noting that Tribal’s customers will not be provided financing in crypto.
According to Elkasstawi, SMBs based in emerging markets have difficulty accessing capital, with interest rates ranging from 20% to 200% a year, while crypto offers “much easier access to capital,” with rates between 10% and 50%.
Elkasstawi added that stablecoins are growing at a rapid pace but are mainly used in the crypto space, rather than in traditional finance. “One of the great use cases of blockchain is cheaper access to capital. In order to reach that use case, we are building the infrastructure to connect the crypto industry with traditional finance,” he said.
Tribal provides SMBs with payment methods such as physical and virtual business credit cards, short-term financing, local and international wires and a management platform to control expenses, according to Elkasstawi.
The company plans to launch crypto-related products in 2022, Elkasstawi said, without revealing details. In December 2021, it launched a cross-border B2B payment service between Mexico and the U.S. in partnership with SDF and Latin American crypto exchange Bitso.
According to Duane Good, chief operating officer of Tribal, the round will help Tribal fund SMBs’ receivables in the markets where it operates – Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Peru. In Latin America, the company plans to expand into Argentina, and the company is also considering expanding into Africa, Europe and South Asia in the future, Elkasstawi added.
In April 2021, Tribal closed a combined Series A and debt round totaling $34.3 million, in which SDF contributed $3 million, the company said in a statement.
“World Bank data shows SMBs in emerging markets create seven out of 10 jobs, yet the lack of access to financing is regularly cited as a major barrier to SMB growth,” said Denelle Dixon, CEO and executive director of SDF, in a statement. “Tribal’s rapid expansion is another indicator of how much SMBs in emerging market economies want and need additional financial services options.”
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