Kafene Raises $18M via Series B to Help Merchants Offer Flexible Lease-To-Own Financing Options

Kafene, a digital platform used by merchants at the point-of-sale to help offer underserved consumers more flexible purchase options through transparent lease-to-own (LTO) agreements, announced that it has “raised $18 million in a Series B funding round led by Third Prime and existing investors.”

This investment round follows a Series A investment of $30 million in 2021 that “was co-led by Third Prime and Valar Ventures.”

Kafene will use the new capital “to increase headcount to meet the demand from merchants and consumers for omni-channel, technology-enabled purchase options.”

Kafene’s lease-to-own agreements “are free of debt and structured in a way that is simple, consumer-friendly and transparent.”

These agreements primarily “serve the underbanked, given that one-third of Americans have credit scores that limit their purchasing ability, particularly on necessary big-ticket items such as furniture, appliances, electronics, tires and other goods.”

In doing so, Kafene’s financing platform “provides retailers with a way to reach more of these consumers than they would otherwise be able to, which can meaningfully add to their customer bases.”

Kafene’s platform is easy-to-use, “removing time and friction at the point of sale, supplemented by a high-touch approach to customer service.” Beneath that is an underwriting model that leverages more than 20,000 data inputs “to inform AI-driven approvals, allowing for financing to be tiered based on actual risk rather than one-size-fits-all.”

This enables underwriting “to be more efficient and affordable for more underbanked consumers who have fewer financing alternatives, which can help merchants meaningfully expand their customer bases.”

Neal Desai, Chief Executive Officer, Kafene, said:

“We’re extremely excited to be doubling down on partnering with merchants to offer more flexible ownership options precisely when they’re needed most, and right at a time in which others have retreated and tightened their credit boxes. Kafene continues to grow in scale and valuation, and we’re thrilled to have like minded investors who share our vision and belief that today presents a powerful opportunity to take our platform and relationships to the next level. We’re poised not just to take market share, but to significantly broaden the market. We’ve only just scratched the surface “

Wes Barton, co-founder and Managing Partner, Third Prime, remarked:

“We’re proud of the results to date from Kafene and its management team in building a superb platform with a next-gen underwriting model that delivers strong unit economics and is resilient in the face of economic headwinds. We couldn’t be happier to continue our support to better their ability to leverage a massive market opportunity that not only provides a way to serve the underbanked, but could also appeal more broadly as Kafene becomes the go-to point-of-sale partner for retailers big and small with consumers up and down the credit spectrum.”

As noted in the update, Kafene is a digital platform “used by merchants at the point-of-sale to help offer underserved consumers more flexible purchase options through transparent lease-to-own (LTO) agreements that help retailers of furniture, appliances, electronics, tires and other goods meaningfully broaden their addressable market.”

Kafene utilizes more than 20,000 data inputs in tandem with artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies “to underwrite, approve using efficient risk-based pricing, and enable payment in a near-instantaneous manner, while creating a best-in-class customer experience.”

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