Kabbage raises a record $700 million in debt for its SMB loans platform

Loan platform Kabbage — which offers quick assessment and approvals for small business loans using machine learning algorithms that pull data from dozens of sources — has closed another large securitization as it continues to grow its operations. The company said it has closed an asset-backed securitization of $700 million, which it says it the largest transaction of its kind for an online lending platform focused on small businesses.

Valued at more than $1.2 billion after raising a big round from SoftBank in 2017, the company has been picking up momentum in recent years, through its own direct-to-business proposition as well as through white-label services and partnerships such as the recent deal it struck with Alibaba to offer loans to merchants buying on its platform.

Kabbage says it has now loaned more than $6.5 billion to over 170,000 small businesses on its platform since it was founded in 2009. The pace is accelerating for Kabbage: it loaned out $2 billion in 2018 and has already loaned out $600 million so far this year.

Kabbage — its name is a play on the slang word for “money” — has to date raised $940 million in debt funding, with some $4.2 billion in securities overall. As with a previous $500 million securitization it issued in 2017, this tranche is being issued by Kabbage Asset Securitization LLC, a fully owned subsidiary of the company. (It has raised around $500 million in equity as well, with other backers in addition to SoftBank including BlueRun Ventures, Mohr Davidow Ventures, ING, Santander and more.)

Kabbage said that the majority of the proceeds from this $700 securitization is being used to pay down “an existing asset-backed securitization transaction” (it doesn’t specify which). But the generally strong outlook for the company on its basic business model has meant that the terms under which Kabbage borrows continue to improve, meaning the terms under which it has to pay back the money also continue to get more favorable.

It notes that the most senior class of the five-tranche transaction earned an AA(sf) rating from Kroll Bond Rating Agency, “the highest ABS rating earned by a small business online lending platform for a three-year facility,” and that the transaction reduces the company’s cost of funds compared to its existing ABS by more than 100 basis points.

“The new ABS and AA(sf) rating is a testament to Kabbage’s proven and real-time approach to responsibly provide credit access to small businesses,” said Kabbage CFO Scott Rosenberg in a statement. “The new transaction positions the company for continued milestone growth as small businesses accessed more than $2 billion through Kabbage last year and more than $600 million already in the first quarter of 2019.”