Babel Finance, cryptocurrency loan startup based in China, said as of February it had reached a record $380 million in outstanding loans.
Flex Yang, company’s co-founder, said on Thursday Babel Finance’s outstanding loans rose from $52 million worth of USDT as of Q1 2019 to $289 million as of the end of last year, reflecting the growing market demand in the crypto lending activity amidst the price surge of Bitcoin since April last year.
The company, which was incorporated in late 2018 in Hong Kong with a major operation in Beijing, recently closed a Pre-A funding round with investment from Dragonfly Capital and Parallel Ventures, a crypto-focused spinoff from Chinese VC FreesFund.
Seeking More Funding Rounds
Yang declined to reveal the exact amount of the investment but said the valuation ranged from $50 million to $100 million. Within the first half of this year, the company is looking to conduct another round of funding with a goal of raising another $10-20 million that would be worth $100 million to $200 million.
“The purpose of the fund raise is to help us expand the network of our overseas partners since our cashflow and reserve ratio are healthy at the moment,” Yang said.
According to Yang, 70 percent of the capital from crypto-interbank lenders that Babel used to originate its loans. Among them, Yang said Genesis Capital, based in the U.S., and BlockFi are two big partners.
Meanwhile, the firm had about $40 million worth of USDT as outstanding loans to other crypto-lending institutions as of Dec. 31 as well.
The demand from Chinese crypto miners led to the first round of growth for the company’s lending business as the price of bitcoin dropped below $4,000 in early 2019, according to Babel’s 2019 annual report.
Of the $52 million in outstanding loans that Babel originated in Q1 2019, $33.9 million worth of USDT was lent to crypto-miners, representing more than 60 percent of the total.
It is worth mentioning that, Genesis continued to see sustained growth in its digital asset lending business in the fourth quarter of 2019.