Online lender Prospa raises AU$25m in AirTree VC-led round

The capital raised by online lending company Prospa will be used for production expansion and distribution, as well as for recruitment.

Online small business lender Prospa has raised AU$25 million in a Series B funding round led by Sydney-based AirTree Ventures. The round valued the company at AU$235 million.

The funds will be used for investment in product expansion and distribution, as well as talent acquisition.

The online lender was founded in 2011 by Beau Bertoli and Greg Moshal to meet the demand for faster financing solutions from Australia's 2 million-strong small business community.

Whereas traditionally small businesses would have to fill out complex paperwork for what could still be a negative outcome, Prospa claims that it can approve loans of up to AU$250,000 within 24 hours by processing the applicant's data, and has a 90 percent approval rate.

Prospa, whose debt funders include the Carlyle Group and Ironbridge Capital, has also surpassed AU$250 million in total loans to small businesses and secured strategic distribution partnerships with Westpac Banking Group, Reckon, and Mortgage Choice.

Other online lenders in Australia include Moula, Spotcap, ThinCats, and DirectMoney, though Prospa claims to be the market leader.

In the second half of 2016, National Australia Bank (NAB) launched Quickbiz Loans, an online application process lending up to AU$50,000 to small businesses within 10 minutes.

Also for small business customers, NAB launched a cloud-based digital platform -- NAB Business in One -- that synchronises data in real time across numerous applications including accounting, sales, and customer relationship management software, into a central, customisable dashboard.

Back in December 2015, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia struck a deal with New York Stock Exchange-listed online small business lender OnDeck, providing loans of up to AU$150,000. OnDeck also boasts a 10-minute application process.