Japanese telecom and internet giant SoftBank Group Corp has led a $1-billion Series E investment round in US financial technology startup SoFi, according to a press release. Existing investors Third Point Ventures, an affiliate of Third Point LLC; Wellington Management Company LLP, Institutional Venture Partners, RenRen, Baseline Ventures and DCM Ventures also participated in the round. This is one of the biggest deals in the financial technology sector and takes the total equity investment in the lending marketplace SoFi to $1.42 billion. The deal comes at a time when the segment has attracted many private equity and venture capital investors in India as well. Last month, Coverfox, an online insurance seller, raised funding from Catamaran Ventures, the private investment arm of Infosys’ co-founder NR Narayana Murthy. TOFlo, a financial platform for fin-tech startups, also raised money last month to launch an incubation and funding programme for startups. In August, Bangalore-based Scripbox.Com India Pvt Ltd, which runs online fin-tech portal Scripbox, secured Rs 16 crore ($2.49 million) in its Series A round of funding from Accel Partners and a group of angel investors. Prior to that, New Delhi-based IndiaLends raised an undisclosed amount in a pre-Series A round led by DSG Consumer Partners and angel investors including Siddharth Parekh. Mike Cagney, CEO and co-founder of San Francisco-based SoFi, said the funding will advance expansion of the company’s products and experiences. “Our trajectory is clear: we are well on our way to becoming the most trusted financial services partner in the US,” he said. SoFi offers mortgages, mortgage refinancing and personal loans. It has funded more than $4 billion in loans to date and expects to surpass $6 billion by the end of 2015. It has around 400 employees. “This investment gives SoftBank exposure to the financial services sector, which is one of the largest and most important industries in the world,” Nikesh Arora, President and COO of SoftBank. Arora had joined SoftBank from Google last year as vice-chairman with direct responsibility of SoftBank Internet & Media Inc as its CEO. Recently, he invested Rs 3,147 crore in SoftBank. Last month, Softbank invested $500 million in online marketplace Snapdeal along with oher investors like iPhone contract manufacturer Foxconn and Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. It has also backed branded budget hotels marketplace Oyo Rooms and online cab booking service Ola.
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