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Prodigy Finance raises over R14bn in new debt financing round

UK-based fintech Prodigy Finance — founded by SA entrepreneur Cameron Stevens — announced today that it has raised R14.39-billion in the last 12 months in debt financing. The company lends to students globally via an Irish Stock Exchange listed bond.

In a statement today, the company — started by Stevens (pictured above) in 2007 — said the financing primarily consists of R12.95-billion in institutional debt facilities from American, European and Asian lenders.

These include Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, M&G Investments and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation. Other investors include schools, family offices and high-net-worth individuals participating in Prodigy Finance’s international bond programme distributed by Credit Suisse.

The company said the financing will allow it to expand its innovative global credit model, which supports high potential students from across 150 countries.

The latest raise follows an announcement by the company in August last year that it had raised R3.19-billion from venture capital firm Index Ventures, with participation from Balderton Capital and AlphaCode and a global investment bank.

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Stevens said the company’s model has allowed it to help international students, including South Africans, with limited or no funding options to gain access to “life-changing” opportunities.

Founded by SA entrepreneur Cameron Stevens, Prodigy Finance, announced today that it has raised R14.39-billion

“The world is increasingly global and connected, yet the banking industry has not kept pace. Traditional lenders are bound by local legal constraints, local data, as well as local repayments and collections, which ties an applicant’s credit profile to their location.

“For example, if you’re born and live in the US you will have greater choice and access to financial services and credit. However, if you’re born in Ghana and want to study abroad, you’re more likely to be unbanked. We’ve worked hard over the years to change this,” he said.

The company began by funding programmes at the top 100 business schools around the world, and has over the years, expanded to other countries as well as disciplines including engineering, public policy, law and health sciences.

To date, Prodigy Finance says it has helped over 11 200 students, from 132 countries borrow more than R7.74-billion — adding that the majority (89%) of which had no alternative access to funds. The group has over 140 staff across offices located in Cape Town, London and New York.

Stevens argues that the financial services sector will become more global in its outlook. Said Stevens: “This could transform the lives of the 258 million people living outside of their home country, as well as 3.2 billion of the middle-class population that want to access the opportunities that a world class education offers.”

Featured image: Prodigy Finance founder Cameron Stevens