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Transformations in the worlds of money and technology are converging, as described in the book by Sanjay Phadke, Fintech Future: The Digital DNA of Finance.

The material is spread across 17 chapters, and makes for an informative read for beginners new to this field. However, the choice of font could do with considerable improvement, and there are several typos; more figures would have been a welcome addition to improve readability as well.

Sanjay Phadke is the Head of Global Platforms and Alliances at Vayana Network. He describes himself as a “tinkerer (almost) and teacher (hopefully)”. He graduated from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies and Sardar Patel College Of Engineering.

Here are my takeaways from the 190-page book, summarised as well in Table 1. See also my reviews of the related books Prediction Machines; Seeing Digital; A Human's Guide to Machine Intelligence; Machine, Platform, Crowd; and The AI Advantage.

T

Table 1: Fintech transformations (image credit: YourStory)

Evolution of money

The invention of language and money are key contributions to the evolution of society, Sanjay begins. Money acts as a bridge from past to present and future. It is a form of payment and trust, and even a way to acquire more money through financial investment.

Money is a means of exchange and way of comparing the worth of different assets and services. It has deterministic, probabilistic, and even emotional connotations. Evolving from shells to coins and banknotes, currency and its governance are being transformed in the digital era.

While coins did not need numbering, banknotes do. Banknotes today account for only five percent of monies globally, Sanjay explains; the rest is stored in digital or ‘dematerialised’ form.

“Digital money is data,” the author observes, it is a string of characters, and does not derive trust from its physical form any more. New risks arise, of course. “No digital property can be guaranteed to be foolproof from digital theft,” he cautions.

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Key players

Banks, big tech giants, and fintech startups are the three categories of players in today’s financial scenario, Sanjay explains. The industry is tightly regulated, so governments and exchanges play a key role as well.

There are significant differences in the mindset and operations of banks and tech-led firms. Tech DNA is about rapid change, agile development, and learning quickly from mistakes to develop easy-to-use offerings. Bank DNA is about being cautious, paranoid, careful in experimentation, and slow change.

One chapter traces the evolution of the “finscape” in the US, China, and India. The US already had a mature system in place in the pre-digital era, with social security numbers, credit cards, and credit bureaus. “China and India, in contrast, had vastly underdeveloped ecosystems,” Sanjay observes.

The US tech players have now set high expectations for engagement among the younger generation of mobile-connected always-on users around the world. “Silicon Valley is coming,” in the words of Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan.

The market value of US tech giants like Apple and Amazon is around half of India’s GDP, and they are entering the world of finance along with Google and Facebook as well, Sanjay explains.

Fintech 1.0

Mobile payments and digital-only banks are some forms of Fintech 1.0, Sanjay explains. Alibaba’s Ant Financial set up MyBank as a digital-only bank to offer loans to small businesses in just minutes. It draws on transactional and social media data, fed into AI scoring models.

Neo-banks do not have a banking license but partner with banks to offer banking services. Some existing banks have also rolled out their own digital-only banks, such as Fidor by JPMorgan Chase and Kotak’s 811.

Payment via QR codes has accelerated mobile payments even more. IoT and the emergence of 5G will speed up the momentum further. IoT sensors in vehicles are being used by automobile insurance firms; voice-based assistants and face-recognition technologies are other trends to watch in fintech.

Paypal was one of the first “native-Internet” fintechs. Microsoft is more likely to be a collaborator with banks than a competitor. Softbank is another player to watch, thanks to its investments in fintech startups, the author writes. Fintechs in other countries include Adyen (Netherlands) and Klarna (Sweden).

China has a highly-innovative landscape at scale, as seen in Alibaba’s Alipay, Yue Bao (money-market fund), and Sesame Credit (social credit rating). Ant Financial is the first of the “super fintechs," according to Sanjay. (See also my reviews of the related books Tech Titans of China, China's Mobile Economy, and AliBaba.)

There are new active players in wealth management, consumer loans and insurance. Alibaba also expanded into finance for logistics services, a move copied by other players around the world. Thanks to not having legacy baggage, China has created a “futuristic fintech ecosystem,” Sanjay explains. However, it is siloed into the BAT trio worlds.

India has emerged as a laboratory for global big-tech players, along with local firms like HDFC Bank and Bajaj Finance. Among startups, the book focuses largely on Paytm and not the broader spectrum of players. Paytm’s fortunes were boosted by events like demonetisation, and also received India’s first investment by Warren Buffet.

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Fintech 2.0

The world is awash with money, yet few get loans, the author laments. Cautious banks need collaterals, guarantors, or credit history data based on past records. Unfortunately, the aspirational needs of low-income or poor people cannot be fulfilled in such a system, even though India has 120,000 bank branches – the highest number in the world.

“The poor pay the highest for a loan and gets next to nothing on deposits,” Sanjay observes. Even remittances of foreign labourers are charged relatively high service fees.

Frauds and false identities have plagued the banking system. Digital transformation can help in this regard, but there are also risks regarding theft of data, money and reputation, the author cautions.

India’s larger fintech moves have been cautious and led largely by the government, as seen by inter-connected developments in the B2C and B2B sectors like biometric UID, UPI (Unified Payment Interface), and GST. The author identifies other developments as well, such as DEPA (Data Empowerment and Protection Architecture), PCR (Public Credit Registry), and AA (Account Aggregator).

Aadhaar helped Jio acquire a million customers a day, and reduced activation times. Jio is forging alliances with a range of tech giants, Sanjay observes. Digital technology and finance innovations helped spur the Chinese economy and created a vast pool of SMEs; it is hoped that a similar boom can take place in India as well.

The API architecture is spurring a range of innovations on top of existing digital infrastructure, driven by the talent of entrepreneurs. Hopefully, these combined developments can make access to capital easier and more automated, given the rapid growth of data communications in India.

The success of emerging economies like India depends on democratising access to capital as raw material for the needy, the author emphasises.

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Fintech 3.0

The author charts a range of technologies in the next wave of fintech, clustered as the new ABC: AI, algorithms, autonomous operation; big data, blockchain, bitcoin; and cloud, crypto, cybersecurity. Other trends to watch are quantum computing, which can also pose risks to security via the ability to crack codes.

Continuous feeds of data and powerful algorithms can improve automation and robustness of financial processes at scale. For example, they can improve assessment of ability and willingness to pay by better understanding social psychology (though overcoming bias will be a challenge). Spotting anomalies and outliers can improve fraud detection defences.

Bitcoin regulations vary around the world, but some blockchain features are being implemented. Hybrid systems may emerge in such a context, the author observes.

Platformisation combined with AI is a powerful combination. But countries have adopted varying positions on cloud infrastructure and data sovereignty as well (eg. EU’s GDPR), and trade wars have triggered off new moves in geopolitics.

If all goes well, however, the dream of making financial security and prosperity for all can become a reality when arteries of finance become unclogged, the author sums up. Innovation, agility and scale can be enhanced through financial ecosystem partnerships and progressive regulation.

Edited by Kanishk Singh

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Original Source: yourstory.com

The fintech industry in India is growing rapidly. They have captured a good space with advanced technologies like smart usage of Data Science, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Even large banks and financial institutions have now started to value the importance of fintech.

The rapid growth of India’s fintech space can be attributed to the success of mobile payments and digital lending. Hence, it is not very surprising that traditional banks are also keen on embracing new technologies and partnering with fintech players to improve their service standards.

Many large banks have even set up fintech subsidiaries to internalise fintech competitiveness and export technology capacity to smaller banks. Fintechs are also stepping in to help financial institutions handle the large number of loan applications by enabling digital applications, facilitating data collection or assisting with the underwriting and approval process.

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How fintechs are helping keep consumer liquidity flowing?Mobile payments

Fintech has significantly pervaded the mobile payments landscape. Many fintech players are taking advantage of the rise in the use of smartphones, improvements in digital infrastructure, and a growing interest in online shopping.

The advent of UPI has further eased the process of making payments online. The biggest advantage offered by UPI is its interoperability among multiple banking platforms. This enables customers to enjoy a fast, seamless and reliable payment experience, and pay utility bills. In addition to this, they can send money to their family and friends almost instantaneously.

Digital lending

The process of availing loans from traditional banks is not only time-consuming but also paper heavy. It sometimes takes weeks to just get approvals for the loan. The COVID crisis has further worsened the situation as most of the banks are reluctant to lend in this uncertain scenario. Against this background, digital lending NBFCs have emerged as a saviour for customers.

Fintech companies operating in the digital lending space uses new-age approaches to disburse credit. Instead of relying on traditional financial data, they are now using alternative data to make more accurate and informed credit decisions.

Alternative data for credit scoring can cover employment history, academic background, rental payments, utility bill payments, insurance payments and even social media activities.

Since there is a shortage of credit data on MSME borrowers, fintech lenders leverage alternative data to assess their creditworthiness. This method improves access to credit for MSMEs, who are often declined credit from the formal banking sector.

Not just MSMEs but alternative data also helps salaried professionals and freshers who do not have any credit score. This explains why despite being a fraction of the banking system in size, the digital lending space is growing at a rapid pace owing to the faster and hassle-free process of loan disbursal.

Another main advantage of digital lending is that it allows for digital customer onboarding and credit disbursements, thereby eliminating the need for the customer to be physically present at the lender.

The digital lending space apart from being hassle-free is also helping the new to credit customers and those who have lower income to avail short term personal loan with a few clicks. The fintech companies, through technological means, can promptly evaluate credit risks by using the database containing loan applicants’ background and approve the loan.

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Savings and ProtectionFintech firms are offering platforms to customers to enable them to save, manage their wealth, and make investments. They also help them to choose from a spectrum of financial products across categories such as insurance, savings account and mutual funds.

Some fintech companies are also providing customised financial advice on a range of financial products. Mutual funds, for example, can play a key role in addressing the credit needs of customers.

In March and April this year, around 1.2 million new investors opened demat accounts with the Central Depository Services (CDSL) despite the ongoing nationwide lockdown. This is an indication of more and more retail investors in the country taking to equities and MF route as against the more traditional forms of investments, viz., FD, gold, property, etc.

As many as 122 million Indians have lost their jobs due to the pandemic during the period between March and April, according to the Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy. This means a large portion of the population do not have a steady income source and are suffering from a liquidity crunch. While traditional banks are not much of help in this situation, fintech NFBCs are providing a wide array of products and services to cater to their liquidity requirements.

Be it a personal loan or insurance, fintechs are using their strategic partnerships within the industry to financially empower their customers. The uptick in smartphone use and availability has also prompted many insurance providers to enable customers to complete applications and file claims from their smart phones.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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Original Source: yourstory.com

The coronavirus outbreak has not only brought about a global health threat but is also crippling the economy. Several organisations, factories, and businesses are unable to operate normally, forced to cut down their costs by deducting salaries and/or reducing their employee strength. 

According to media reports, 27 million workers within 20-30 lost their jobs in April 2020 amidst national lockdown. 

Paytm job

Paytm is looking to hire more than 1,000 tech and non-tech roles and 50 key senior-level hires. [Image Credit: Shutterstock]

Also ReadHiring in India picks up pace during April to June: LinkedIn

However, Noida-based fintech unicorn Paytm is looking to hire people for 1,000 positions within the next two to three months. Apart from this, the company is also looking to bring in over 50 key senior-level hires for vice president and above positions for tech and business roles.

Speaking with YourStory, Rohit Thakur, Chief Human Resource Officer, Paytm, says, “The ongoing global pandemic has not impacted our hiring plans and we have continued with our interviews, as well as inductions of new joinees through WFH mode even during the lockdown. We believe the hiring process would be complete in the next two to three months.”Growth and expansion amidst crisis

According to Rohit, Paytm and its other group businesses — lending, insurance, wealth management, and offline payments — have been expanding operations, creating the need to hire people for both tech and non-tech roles. 

“This team expansion would play an essential role in launching innovative financial services and technology to fuel Paytm’s growth journey and digitally serve the residents of the country in the troubled times of COVID 2019,” he adds. 

Paytm is not only building solutions to survive and sustain its business amidst the pandemic but is also aiming to empower the citizens to deal with the crisis. Riding on the accelerated digitisation wave, the fintech unicorn claims to have grown by 35 percent combining offline and online transactions, while its Gross Transaction Value (GTV) has grown by 50 percent over the last few months. 

The company’s offline merchant transactions and P2P transactions have increased by 122 percent and 50 percent, respectively amidst the pandemic situation. 

The fear of contacting COVID-19 through currency notes has forced people to shift to online transactions. Transactions through Paytm Payments Gateway have also increased, especially for gaming, OTT, and essential services. 

Paytm, jobs, hiring

Paytm and its other group businesses have been expanding operations thus creating the need to hire people. [Image Credit: Shutterstock]

Also ReadHow Paytm’s Rs 250 Cr ESOP policy will help the fintech giant drive growthEnsuring wellbeing, financial security of employees

To ensure the physical and mental wellbeing and financial security of the employees, the fintech unicorn made efforts to not opt for salary cuts or layoffs. This also ensured that employees gave their undivided attention towards innovating new solutions rather than worrying about their jobs.

“We have cut down on a lot of overhead costs, streamlined our operations and real estate, and managed to save on resources in other areas. We have ensured that all levels and categories of staff remain safe, motivated, and energised as earlier with minimal impact,” says Rohit.

The company is giving up leases of 19 facilities across the country that can help Paytm save over Rs 40 crore yearly in rent, maintenance, and other operating expenses. According to Paytm, this money will be utilised for tech development, employee, and other initiatives. 

Further, to maintain the productivity of the employees, senior managers and team leads try to stay connected with teammates and support them in completing their daily tasks. The company has also joined hands with professionals to organise mental health webinars, online yoga classes, and other workshops to ensure the health of its employees.

“Every week our founder [Vijay Shekhar Sharma] addresses a video-townhall meet with a large number of colleagues to keep everyone informed about all the latest developments in the company. Throughout the week, the HR touches base with various teams to hear out their concerns and address any work-related issues that they might have,” he adds.

When asked about the appraisal plans, Rohit reveals that Paytm is looking to opt for an ESOP-based appraisal plan, which will be applicable for all the new joinees and existing employees, who were given ESOPs 2019 onwards. This new process has been linked with individual goals, which are reviewed and approved by the HoD or business head.

“Linking it to the performance of our colleagues helps us get the best out of them and also sets the benchmark for goal setting. We follow a point-based performance structure that is transparent and done purely on the basis of achieving the set goals and targets. The higher the points scored in each assessment, the more percentage of ESOPs the employee gets allocated,” he says.

New business opportunities 

Paytm has launched several new products and services such as Paytm Postpaid, Scan to Order, contactless ticketing service, COVID-19 insurance, Recharge Saathi programme, credit shell for flight tickets, and free cancellation of bus tickets, among others. 

“Early on, we understood that social distancing norms and safety measures would have a lasting impact on the movement of migrant workers across the country. Things that they were able to do earlier, including standing in a queue to pay utility bills, going for shopping, and even touching currency notes would become difficult. Keeping all these things in mind, our team worked dedicatedly to revamp the Paytm app UI with a ‘Stay at home essential payments’ section to include Mobile and DTH Recharge, electricity, water, gas, credit card, and insurance premium payment among others,” Rohit says.

This offering led to over 50 percent increase in mobile recharges, 60 percent increase in DTH payments, and over 200 percent increase in broadband bill payments, claims the company.

To cater to the growing need for contactless services, the fintech unicorn launched the ‘Scan to Order’ feature to promote safe dining and hygienic food ordering experience. It also developed a unique QR to be displayed at restaurants, which can be scanned by users to browse the menu and place orders using their mobile phones. 

Paytm also launched a contactless ticketing service for state-run local transport buses, which will benefit state transport corporations such as DTC, BEST, Punjab Roadways, CTU, OSRTC, and KSRTC, among others.

“We are already in talks with 20 state transport departments to ensure that citizens are able to travel safely within cities following all social distancing norms. We are targeting to enable a contactless ticket-buying experience in over 20,000 state-run busses in the first phase of going live with this service,” adds Rohit.

He adds that a deep understanding of user needs, along with the capability to develop innovative solutions helped the company find new opportunities during these turbulent times.

(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)

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Original Source: yourstory.com

VSS_TechSparks 2019

Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Founder and CEO, Paytm

Fintech giant Paytm's latest acquisition of insurance firm Raheja QBE for $74 million portends a metamorphosis in the Indian financial services industry where the penetration of financial services and offerings continues to be very low, despite digitisation taking place at breakneck speed.

 

“At Paytm, we are on a mission to drive the financial inclusion of over 500 million Indians, and our acquisition of Raheja QBE is a significant step towards this goal,” Amit Nayyar, Paytm’s President, tells YourStory.

Bringing millions of underserved Indians into the folds of the mainstream economy has always been Paytm’s central mission – ever since the fintech startup and its adroit Founder and Chief Executive Officer Vijay Shekhar Sharma took the reins of India’s fintech revolution over a decade ago.

Paytm-roadside vendor

Over the past few years, India has emerged a leader in driving digital payments adoption among the masses, evolving from an online-only model to a complete 360-degree adoption of payments via mobile phones, mainly through wallets, Quick Response (QR) codes, United Payments Interface (UPI), and cards.

 

Still, insurance products continue to have one of the lowest penetration rates among financial services offerings. A major reason for the low penetration of formal financial services such as insurance, credit, and savings remains inaccessibility to financial institutions, especially for those living in rural and far-flung areas. 

 

However, fintech has upended that by not only putting financial services offerings in the hands of people, regardless of their location, but also helping them sign on for such services using independent identity verification services and enabling them to tailor financial products to their needs.

“We have extensive plans to strengthen our position as a fintech leader by increasing our offerings in the financial services space, and our acquisition of Raheja QBE will enable us to build on our reach with our merchant partners and customers,” Amit says.

Amit Nayyar

Amit Nayyar, President, Paytm

On July 6, Paytm announced it would buy all of Prism Johnson’s 51 percent stake and ASX-listed QBE’s 49 percent stake in Raheja QBE through QorQl Pvt Ltd, which is a technology company with majority shareholding of Vijay Shekhar Sharma and remaining held by Paytm’s parent company One97 Communications.

 

“Insurance (both life and general) is highly under-penetrated in India as compared to other countries. With Paytm's reach, we have the unique advantage of taking insurance to the larger population of the country,” Amit says.

 

To be sure, Paytm aims to give half a billion Indians access to a range of financial services offerings across savings, credit, protection, and wealth management, and its recent acquisition of Raheja QBE is one way it’s getting deeper into the space, say analysts covering the fintech space.

paytm

Infographics by Tenzin Pema

Also ReadPaytm and Vijay Shekhar Sharma to acquire general insurer Raheja QBE

Paytm, which has over 150 million annual transacting users, is expected to close the acquisition of Raheja QBE after receiving approval from the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI).

Mumbai-based Raheja QBE reported over 41,000 customers, underwrote 69,000 new policies in the financial year ended March 31, and had $60.5 million in total assets, according to its latest financial statements. Its gross written premiums in FY20 surpassed $20 million, growing over 35 percent, year-on-year.

Evolution into fintech leader

Even though Paytm started as an e-wallet and bill payments service loosely based on PayPal’s model, the Noida-based startup has evolved into one of the most comprehensive payment apps, with all funding sources such as bank accounts, UPIs, cards, and wallets. 

“Our innovative technology such as Scan and Pay QR, online payments, and many others have ushered the growth of the digital payments ecosystem in India and has transformed the way India makes payments, manages businesses, or does investments,” Amit says.

paytm merchants

In the past few years, Paytm has also been moving into the consumer retail and on-demand space with an array of offerings such as bill payments, payment gateway, offline payments, and online ticket booking services, as it makes a beeline towards becoming India’s first ‘Superapp’.

But inclusive digital finance has always been Paytm’s axiom, and that is well reflected in the products and solutions it offers through its digital bank Paytm Payments Bank, which crossed Rs 1,000 crore in deposits by over 57 million savings account holders as on April 22, 2020. 

In 2018, Paytm also launched its first wealth management product, Paytm Money, to make it easier for customers to invest in mutual funds – a financial instrument that has largely been wielded by institutional banks that charge excessive handling fees.

With smartphones and the internet steadily percolating into the societal fabric of the country, Paytm has a clear first-mover advantage in helping make access to finance easier. 

The tailwinds that Paytm witnessed during demonetisation has also helped it amass a loyal customer base, as has the company’s rapid launch of a slew of innovative but simple financial services offerings aimed at the underserved who haven’t had any access to financial services.

Also watch: Paytm Founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma on what it means to build for India, from India

Even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Paytm Payments Bank – which facilitated about 500 crore digital transactions worth Rs 4.6 lakh crore in FY20 – witnessed an accelerated increase in deposits, as more people embraced digital banking during the three-month-long nationwide lockdown that began in March-end.

In the post-COVID-19 world, Paytm has played a significant role in helping businesses and common citizens with services such as digital payments for all essential services, scan to order, cash at home, and COVID-19 insurance, among others.

Last month, Paytm significantly expanded its digital credit service called Postpaid to a large set of payment use-cases, including groceries, milk, and other home essentials from neighbourhood Kirana stores and also at popular retail outlets such as Reliance Fresh, Croma, Apollo Pharmacy, and Shoppers Stop, among others.

“What drives us continuously is driving the digital penetration of financial services within India,” says Amit, adding that Paytm is focussed on “…solving for customer needs while providing the best user experience.”

Paytm merchantAlso ReadPaytm extends postpaid services to kiranas, upgrades credit limit up to Rs 1 lakhAlso ReadPaytm records 4x growth in payments made to merchants during lockdownDigital financial inclusion

Today, with 100 million UPI handles, 220 million saved cards, 300 million wallets, and about 60 million bank accounts, Paytm offers one of the most comprehensive digital banking services and boasts an account holder and debit card holder in every district of India.

Paytm had also been distributing insurance for various players through its Insurance Broking platform, even before its latest acquisition. With the Raheja QBE deal, Paytm can now start manufacturing general insurance products that will likely cater to a tapestry of financially diverse individuals based on parameters such as incomes, flexibility, and risk profile, among others.

“We believe that, along with existing customers of insurance, we can reach new large segments due to our reach and our tech-led, low-cost customised solutions,” says Amit of Paytm’s latest buy.

Its competitive advantage of a wide and growing customer base that is used to purchasing financial products online could help put it ahead of larger rivals such as Coverfox and PolicyBazaar, as well as withstand challenges from traditional players that are increasingly going online these days, say industry analysts.

Earlier this year, One97 Communications said Paytm Insurance Broking Private Limited (PIBPL) secured a licence to sell life and non-life insurance from IRDAI. The company has already tied up with around in 20 leading insurance firms in India and said it would integrate with 30 more companies over the next few weeks.

According to data from IRDAI, gross premiums underwritten by general insurance companies declined 4.24 percent in the first three months of the current financial year, while gross direct premiums underwritten by non-life insurance players grew 7.83 percent to Rs 13,961.25 crore in June. 

Want to make your startup journey smooth? YS Education brings a comprehensive Funding Course, where you also get a chance to pitch your business plan to top investors. Click here to know more.

Original Source: yourstory.com

The fast-spreading coronavirus has emerged as one of the biggest threats to the global economy. And, the impact can significantly be seen in the startup ecosystem.

A month-long e-survey conducted by NASSCOM in May to study the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Indian startups showed that 70 percent of startups have less than three months of cash runway.

Among sectors, agritech and fintech startups are the worst hit when it comes to funding, the survey found.

fintech startupAlso Read[Funding alert] Suniel Shetty invests in SAI-branded edtech venture SEMSI

However, amid the pandemic, with the practice of social distancing and zero-touch policy, digital payments and transactions recorded remarkable growth and lured investors.

Moreover, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) also emphasised on transacting digitally and urged customers to use online banking facilities, ensuring contactless transactions.  Further, kiranas, OTTs, online gaming, e-learning, ATM withdrawals, and broadband usage are also giving a boost to the use of digital payments. 

Here are 11 fintech startups that managed to raise funds during the pandemic.

Jai Kisan

Mumbai-based rural fintech startup Jai Kisan on June 16, 2020, raised Rs 30 crore in a Pre-Series A round led by Arkam Ventures (previously known as Unitary Helion), with participation from NABVENTURES Fund I (backed by NABARD). 

Founded in 2017 by Texas A&M University graduates Arjun Ahluwalia and Adriel Maniego, Jai Kisan is building a rural fintech full-stack platform to cater to the financial needs of customers in rural emerging markets.

Jai Kisan

Jai Kisan Co-founders (L:R) – Arjun Ahluwalia , Adriel Maniego

Also Read[Funding alert] Rural fintech startup Jai Kisan raises Rs 30 Cr in Pre-Series A from Arkam Ventures, NABVENTURES, and others

Over the past six months, it has disbursed over Rs 50 crore in loans of top-tier credit quality to a diverse set of 5,500+ borrowers from various income groups across 10 states. 

Setu

In April this year, Bengaluru-based fintech startup Setu raised $15 million in a Series A financing round led by Falcon Edge and Lightspeed Venture Partners US, along with existing investors Lightspeed India Partners and Bharat Inclusion Seed Fund.

Co-founded by Sahil Kini, former Principal at Aspada Investments, and Nikhil Kumar, a former fellow at iSPIRT Foundation, Setu is a fintech API infrastructure provider that connects regulated financial institutions to other companies that wish to offer financial services to their customers.

Nikhil Kumar

Setu Co-founder Nikhil Kumar

According to the startup, it will be using these funds to continue strengthening its team, roll out a suite of new products, and improve its technology infrastructure.

NIRA

NIRA, a fintech startup offering small-ticket loans to blue and grey-collared workers via its mobile app and website, in April closed $2.1 million in Pre-Series A round from existing and new angel investors in the UK, Europe, and India. 

The funding will be used to add high-quality talent to its team, further develop its product and technology, and scale up its lending volumes.

nira nupur rohit

NIRA Co-founders Nupur Gupta and Rohit Sen

Also Read[Funding alert] Fintech startup NIRA raises $2.1M in Pre-Series A

Co-founded by ex-Goldman Sachs colleagues Rohit Sen and Nupur Gupta, NIRA offers access and credit to working Indians at their time of need. The startup offers loans of up to Rs 1 lakh for up to one year, via its app-based credit line.

Launched exclusively in Bengaluru in mid-2018, NIRA now operates pan-India with many thousands of customers from more than 100 cities across the country.

YAP

API fintech platform YAP in April raised $4.5 million in its Series A round led by Singapore-based venture capital firm BEENEXT.  

The Chennai-based startup said the funds will be used to strengthen the team, build technology, and offer enhanced API products to fintech with a specific focus on enabling access to credit, corporate banking solutions, cross border payments, and the freshly minted Neobanking stack. 

YAP currently provides API-based financial services access to over 200+ fintechs, and the startup has raised over $1 million in angel financing earlier this year.  

Khatabook

Khatabook, a Bengaluru-based utility solutions provider that helps micro, small, and medium-sized businesses track business transactions, in May closed a $60 million Series B round of funding led by B Capital Group. 

More than one million merchants are uploading data and engaging with the Khatabook app daily while adding $200 million worth of transactions every day. 

Khatabook

Khatabook Team

The startup also said that using a digital-first user acquisition approach has helped Khatabook reach over eight million active merchants across 11 languages in less than a year. 

The Bengaluru startup will use the funds to ramp up its product offering for its core merchant base, with a view on building solutions around financial services and a merchant-focussed distribution platform.

Lendingkart

Ahmedabad-based fintech startup Lendingkart Technologies Pvt, Ltd., in May raised an equity round of little over Rs 319 crore in its Series D funding (comprising Rs 233 crore as part of D1, and Rs 86.24 crore as part of D2).

To date, it has raised more than Rs 1,050 crore of equity capital from investors. The current funding will be deployed to expand the startup’s lending base, and further, reach out to small and underserved micro and small enterprises. It also wants to strengthen the startup’s technological and analytics capabilities.

Founded in 2014 by Harshvardhan Lunia and Mukul Sachan the startup claims to have evaluated nearly half a million applications, disbursing 1,00,000+ loans to more than 89,000 MSMEs in 1300+ cities across 29 states and union territories of the nation since its inception.

Harshvardhan Lunia, CEO and Co-founder of Lendingkart Technologies

Harshvardhan Lunia, CEO and Co-founder of Lendingkart Technologies.

The startup is currently based in Ahmedabad, with offices in Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi-NCR, and Kolkata, but has a service reach across India.

Nium

Global fintech startup Nium (earlier InstaReM) in May raised a new round of equity funding joined by new investors Visa and BRI Ventures (the corporate venture arm of Bank BRI of Indonesia).

Nium said it will be using the funds to further build its diversified payment infrastructure offering that includes outreach to consumers, SMEs, large enterprises, as well as banks and financial institutions.

Prajit Nanu, Co-founder of Nium(InstaReM)

Prajit Nanu, CEO and Co-founder of Nium

It is currently licensed in Japan, Indonesia, EU, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Malaysia, India, and Singapore, and claims to operate in over 90 countries, 65 in real-time, and in 63 currencies.

HomeCapital

HomeCapital, a Mumbai-based fintech startup focussed on accelerating housing among millennials in India, raised a funding round in April led by Varanium NexGen Fund. 

 

The round also saw participation from Venture Catalysts, JITO Incubation and Innovation Foundation, Singapore Angel Network, Venture Gurukool, and Shalin Shah, among other investors.

HomeCapital

Also Read[Funding alert] Varanium NexGen Fund leads investment in fintech startup HomeCapital

The startup claims that it supports home buyers in eight cities, including Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Pune, and Kolkata, among others. It will use the proceeds of this round to expand operations and scale technology infrastructure. 

Aye Finance

Gurugram-based fintech startup Aye Finance, backed by Capital G, raised Rs 180 crore in debt funding from leading lenders from India and abroad in April.

Aye FinanceAlso Read[Funding alert] Despite coronavirus lockdown, fintech lender Aye Finance raises Rs 180 Cr in debt funding

Since its inception in 2014, Aye Finance claims to have provided $410 million worth of credit loans to over 1,96,000 grassroots businesses that would otherwise be left out of the formal financial system. 

The startup says it has an active customer base of over 1,30,000, and assets under management of Rs 1,500 crore.

Mera Cashier

Noida-based fintech startup Mera Cashier in April raised $150,000 in a bridge round of funding from Bollywood singer Sukhbir Singh, India Accelerator, Boudhik Ventures, Shankar Nath (ex-CMO, Paytm), and Shaurya Garg (Founder, Fundoo Works). 

Suneel Kumar, Co-founder, Mera Cashier

Suneel Kumar, Co-founder, Mera Cashier

Launched in July 2019 by Suneel Kumar, Gaurav Tomar, and Sucharita Reddy, Mera Cashier is an app for small and micro businessmen to record and manage credit transactions.

Recko

Enterprise fintech startup Recko in  April raised $6 million in Series A funding led by Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia and India. The funding will be used towards hiring, product development, and expanding its presence outside India.

Recko

Founders of Recko

Also Read[Funding alert]: Recko raises $6M in Series A round led by Vertex Ventures, with participation from Prime VP

Founded in 2017 by serial entrepreneurs Prashant Border and Saurya Prakash Sinha, the startup enables AI-powered reconciliation of digital transactions. It has recently started working with banks, NBFCs, and insurance companies, and is running pilots with them.

(Edited by Suman Singh)

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Original Source: yourstory.com

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