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Business deals

SoftBank leads $231m funding round for Brazilian fintech lender

Tech investor looks to cash in on Latin America's consumer finance market

The SoftBank Group is betting that Brazil's now inefficient credit market will provide growth opportunities.   © Reuters

NEW YORK -- Japan's SoftBank Group has led a $231 million funding round for Brazil's Creditas, the fintech lender announced on Wednesday.

The SoftBank Vision Fund and existing Creditas shareholders joined the round. The SoftBank stakes will be held by the Latin America-focused SoftBank Latin America Fund.

The investment is the tech giant's latest in a string of moves in Latin America since March, when it announced a $5 billion SoftBank Latin America Fund exclusively for the region.

Creditas, founded in 2012, provides consumer loans in return for collateral such as real estate or cars. It handles loans digitally, allowing the company to operate at minimum costs.

The fintech startup is gearing up to expand its research and development operations, start new businesses and hire more staff.

Akshay Naheta, managing partner of SoftBank Investment Advisers, said Brazil's credit market remains inefficient, which provides growth opportunities.

The investment is the second in as many months that SoftBank Group has made in Brazil. In June, it bet on Gympass, which says it is the world's largest corporate wellness platform.

Brazil's growing middle class, smartphone penetration and infrastructure make it an attractive market for emerging technology companies, SoftBank said in a statement when it announced the Latin America-focused fund. It also referred to the size of the Latin American market, which represents 8% of global GDP, two times that of India.

Nikkei staff writer Akane Okutsu in Tokyo contributed to this report.

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