India: Online lending startup Avail Finance raises funds from Matrix Partners, others

Photo: Reuters

Avail Finance, a Bengaluru-based online lending startup, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding led by Matrix Partners India and a cluster of individual investors, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

In addition to Matrix Partners India, Ola co-founders Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati, Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal, Freecharge founder Kunal Shah, and founder and CEO of Mswipe Manish Patel participated in the round.

Avail Finance has raised a total of $17.2 million till date, which includes debt and credit lines from multiple non-banking financial institutions (NBFCs) and other investors.

According to Ankush Aggarwal, chief executive officer, Avail Finance, money raised via credit line will be used for lending, and money raised from investors will be used to upgrade Avail Finance’s tech capability and for hiring new talent.

Founded by Ankush Aggarwal and Tushar Mehndiratta in February 2017, Avail Finance targets blue collared workers in India, who according to the company are underserved by lending institutions like banks.

The market that the company targets has less or no credit card penetration and there is a lack of structured credit history to identify potential borrowers. The company said that a large segment of the Indian population resorts to availing credit from informal sources at high interest rates instead.

Aggarwal said the company partners with business firms that employ blue collared workers to source potential borrowers. Till date, it has disbursed loans to around 4,000 borrowers and the average loans size is around Rs20,000.

The startup claims to leverage alternate forms of parameters sourced from companies it works with, to underwrite loan applications. It also uses India Stack’s integration to find borrowers, the company said in a statement.

India Stack is a set of open application programming interfaces (APIs) that allows governments, businesses, startups and others to provide paperless eKYC, and to identify customers.

“By solving the core of the problem in not having a credit history, using advanced technology, data sciences and artificial intelligence, we are bringing a new approach to an age-old problem. The huge chunk of people in the urban mass who are currently being ignored by the formal lending sector will stand to benefit from Avail’s solutions,” said Aggarwal in a statement.

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This article was first published on Livemint.com

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.