Naspers-backed startup gets funding from Standard Bank

Planet42 said it raised local-currency debt and equity funding from Standard Bank to help the South Africa-focused rent-to-buy startup repay costly euro-denominated loans. 

The Naspers-backed firm, which has raised about $150 million to date, got R300 million of funding from Standard Bank, Africa’s biggest lender by assets, according to Planet42 CEO and co-founder Eerik Oja.

“We have had no rand-based debt so far, and that is obviously super-expensive for a business operating in South Africa,” Oja said in an interview.

“This is a first step to a bigger strategic partnership for us with Standard Bank,” he said as the startup ramps up auto loans where traditional banks usually cannot finance certain individuals because of regulations.

Many African cities lack public transportation, pushing residents to own their vehicles or use ride-hailing services. Planet42 gets more than 60,000 applicants for its cars every month, Oja said. 

Uber is also in talks to back African vehicle-financing startup Moove in a funding round that would value the company at $750 million, Bloomberg reported previously. 

Co-founded by Oja and Marten Orgna – both from Estonia – Planet42 uses algorithms and data points to assess a potential customer’s credit risk. It generates an offer to rent or buy a car within minutes. 

Rising demand helped the company boost revenue at home by 37% last year, Oja said. 

“In South Africa, and potentially in the rest of Africa, there is a lot of scaling-up that can happen,” Standard Bank Senior Vice President Nimalan Reddy said in the same interview.