Lendingkart has raised Rs25 crore in debt from State Bank of India (SBI), a first for the country’s largest public sector lender vis-a-vis a digital lending start-up.
In a statement, Lendingkart said the Rs25 crore loan is in the form of cash credit facility which essentially allows the company to draw the amount over separate tranches as and when it needs it.
SBI’s investment captures the push by banks across India—not only those in the private sector but also those in the public sector—to reach more borrowers by backing technology-enabled lending companies.
This year, Lendingkart got two private sector banks—Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd and Yes Bank Ltd—on board as lenders.
“We feel extremely privileged to have partnered with India’s largest bank which also shares the same vision of supporting the unbanked SME (small and medium enterprise) sector. SBI, being one of the oldest and largest banks, has played a critical role in shaping India’s financial landscape for the last century,” said Harshvardhan Lunia, co-founder and chief executive officer at Lendingkart.
“With the funds raised, we will further grow our loan books, expanding our reach to many more under-served SMEs (small and medium enterprises,” he added.
Lendingkart represents a group of start-ups that includes Capital Float, Neogrowth and IndiaLends, that offer small ticket-size loans, mostly unsecured credit, to borrowers with limited credit history.
This is achieved by using technology and non-traditional data sources for credit appraisal.
Lendingkart focuses on credit to SMEs for working capital and business needs. Its Lendingkart Finance unit raises money from the market from time to time and then lends to borrowers.
With the latest round, the total debt raised by the company to date has grown to Rs378 crore—largely from non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) such as Aditya Birla Financial Services, IFMR Capital and Mannapuram Finance.
The firm now seems to be moving towards banks for its capital needs.
“It is a gradual progression from NBFCs to banks. All large NBFCs anyway borrow from banks. It is a natural progression to move more and more towards banks. Certainly, NBFCs cannot lend below a certain rate because for themselves, the cost of funds is high,” Lunia had said in an earlier interview with Mint.
The start-up has also taken in over Rs200 crore in equity funding from investors including Bertelsmann India Investment, Saama Capital, Mayfield India, India Quotient and Darrin Capital Management.