GirnarSoft, the parent company of India’s auto portals CarDekho.com, Gaadi.com, and Zigwheels.com, on Tuesday announced it plans to invest $20 million in its subsidiary InsuranceDekho, an omni channel insurance platform.

According to a statement released by the company, the startup will use the funds to invest in branding and strengthening its tech, product, and sales teams.

Commenting about the investment, Amit Jain, CEO and Co-Founder, GirnarSoft, said,

“InsuranceDekho started as a modest initiative to complete the ecosystem play. Over the years, under Ankit’s leadership, it has taken a life of its own and ranks among the leading insuretech companies in the country. They have inherited CarDekho’s capital efficiency and tech prowess but are building a large and independent business of their own." "This proposed fund infusion is our vote of confidence in their ability to build India’s most enduring insuretech business in India,” he added.

Launched in 2017, InsuranceDekho is an insurtech venture that enables its consumers to compare different insurance policies based on their requirements and offering them the best choices available.

funding, startup

Image Source: Shutterstock

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Speaking about the new development, Ankit Agrawal, CEO and Co-founder, InsuranceDekho, said,

"In the first phase of our journey, we created a unique three-way marketplace of insurance consumers, India’s leading insurance companies, and distribution partners. This new capital infusion will be used to expand our digital footprint." "We are already a force to reckon with in the B2B space. With this round we aim to invest in branding and marketing to further strengthen our B2C platform, which has been seeing strong traction over the last two quarters.”

The online insurance platform has tied-up with over 26 general insurance companies. It claims to be at an annualised run rate of 20 lakh policies and intends to close March 2021 at an annualised run rate of 36 lakh policies. 

The company, which has over 12,000 partners in over 350 cities, foresees an accelerated shift towards digital platforms in the current environment.

Edited by Megha Reddy

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Original Source: yourstory.com

Educational technology company Great Learning on Monday said it has roped in Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli as its brand ambassador.

As the face of the Great Learning brand, Kohli will now lead the brand's latest 'Power Ahead' campaign, which underlines the importance of lifelong learning and showcases how high quality learning at the right time can help professionals and students power ahead in their career, the company said in a statement.

Commenting on the development, Great Learning Founder and CEO Mohan Lakhamraju said,

"Virat is the obvious choice to be our brand ambassador because he best embodies the Great Learning ethos of excellence and continuous learning."

The respect that he commands globally, across all age groups, and the connection that he has with the youth make him the perfect partner "to deliver our message of powering ahead in one's career through online learning", Lakhamraju added.

On his association with Great Learning, Kohli said, "Upskilling is all about one's aspiration to get better every day and willingness to work really hard for it. It is something I closely identify with. I also share the same passion for excellence that Great Learning does and am excited about our association."

Great Learning said it is launching a multi-film campaign with Kohli during the upcoming Dream 11 IPL, where the brand is associate sponsor on Disney+ Hotstar.

Virat Kohli

Indian Cricket Captain, Virat Kohli

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The Gurugram-based edtech startup has so far delivered over 30 million hours of transformational learning that has empowered 300,000+ learners by helping them upskill in technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Data Analytics, Cloud Computing, Cybersecurity, Digital marketing, etc.

In March 2020, amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, Great Learning also launched its free learning resource, the Great Learning Academy, to help professionals upskill themselves. Over four lakh learners have already benefited from the platform including employees from 700 leading global MNCs and PSUs as well as students from over 1,000 universities and colleges including IITs, IIMs, and NITs.

(Disclaimer: Additional background information has been added to this PTI copy for context)

Edited by Megha Reddy

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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

WhatsApp will work with partners like banks and financial institutions in India to make it easier for people to access products such as insurance, microcredit, and pension, its India Head Abhijit Bose said on Wednesday.

The company will also support multiple pilots to test potential solutions to solve problems related to distribution of financial products, Bose said at the Global Fintech Fest.WhatsAppAlso ReadOver 15M in India use WhatsApp Business app every month

The Facebook-owned company has been working for more than a year with banking partners to see how it can supplement their digital presence and accelerate the pace of financial access across segments and geographies in the country, Bose said.

"We now want to open up with more banks…over this coming year to help simplify and expand banking services, especially to the rural and lower income segments…we also aim to expand our experiments with partners for other products that the RBI highlighted as basic financial services, starting with micro pensions and insurance," he added.

Bose said the collective aim over the next two to three years is to be able to help low wage workers in the unorganised informal economy to easily access three products – insurance, microcredit, and pension.

WhatsApp had started testing its payments service – WhatsApp Pay – in India in 2018. The UPI-based service, which allows users to utilise the messaging platform to send and receive money, competes against SoftBank-backed Paytm, Flipkart's PhonePe, and Google Pay in India.

While a full-scale national rollout is yet to happen for WhatsApp Pay in India over regulatory issues, the company had launched WhatsApp Pay in Brazil last month.

Bose noted that the fintech innovation happening in India is years ahead of other countries, including the US.

He said, over the next year and a half, WhatsApp will be supporting multiple pilots to test potential solutions to solve problems related to distribution of financial products.

"These pilots will be done jointly with our partners as well as innovative tech partners in each vertical. Each pilot will start with a small experiment to test our hypotheses and based on the results, we will co-invest and scale the ones that show promise," he informed.

Bose emphasised that even a small conversion of the demand will translate into significant infusion of savings into the financial system, and said the company's ultimate goal is for every Indian to have access and affordable micropension, and insurance services.

He highlighted that the core principles of WhatsApp – simplicity, reliability, privacy, and security – are the reasons that people trust and are comfortable with the platform, and these tenets are "critical" when one talks about adoption of new digital services, especially financial services.

With over 400 million users, India is currently among the biggest markets for WhatsApp.

(Edited by Megha Reddy)

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)

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

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