A Japanese technology giant is backing lending startup Kabbage

Kabbage ceoKabbageRob Frohwein, CEO of Kabbage.

Kabbage, a $US1 billion online lending startup, has announced a $US250 million equity investment from a Japanese telecom giant SoftBank, according to a press release on the news.

Kabbage was founded in 2008 to disrupt the business lending space. It currently serves more than 100,000 clients, having provided more than $US3.5 billion in funding to small and medium sized businesses since its inception.

It also powers automated lending tools for large banks such as Santander and Scotiabank.

SoftBank, a holding company, owns a large stake in both 43% stake in Yahoo Japan and cellular service provider Sprint, among other things. Its multi-million dollar investment, according to Rob Frohwein, cofounder and CEO of Kabbage, represents the largest equity raise in the digital small business lending space.

“With this investment, Kabbage will expanding its lending products for small businesses and explore non-lending products and services for these customers,” he said in an email sent to Business Insider by a press representative.

Specifically, the funding will allow the firm to provide its clients with invoicing and payments products, according to Frohwein. It will also help the firm further personalise its offerings.

“A restaurant, construction business and retail shop have very different business models, seasonality and cash flow,” Frohwein said.”We believe financial products should be tailored to them, not forced to fit all.”

The funding round by Softbank brings the total equity raised for the firm to $US500 million. Kabbage was last valued at $US1 billion in 2016, according to a press representative.

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