India: MSME focused lender Veritas Finance raises funding led by Norwest, Kedaara Capital

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Veritas Finance Pvt. Ltd, a non-banking finance company (NBFC) focused on lending to micro, small, medium enterprise (MSME) with presence in eight states on Thursday said that it has raised Rs440 crore of primary investment through a Series F round led by existing investors Norwest Venture Partners, Kedaara Capital and Caspian with support from new investors Evolvence India Fund III Ltd and Growth Catalyst Partners LLC.

The round also includes a secondary share sale of Rs60 crore by some early investors of the company and some former employees.

Promoted in 2015 by D. Arulmany, Veritas Finance has since created a loan book of more than Rs.1750 crore, having a customer base of over 60,000 present across eight states and one union territory with over 218 branches backed by 2,402 employees. The lender provides business loans for self employed people and home construction loans for these customers. It offers loans in ticket sizes of Rs3-10 lakhs for a duration of 5-7 years.

“The company has handled the COVID crisis which hit the MSME segment well and is today well positioned to scale up the volumes significantly. The informal micro enterprises of the MSME segment in the rural areas which are the core focus segment of the organization has shown tremendous resilience during COVID and have demonstrated excellent repayment culture, despite enormous challenges during the last fifteen months,” said  D. Arulmany, MD & CEO, Veritas Finance.

Despite the impact of the covid-19 pandemic and the lockdowns, the lender managed to report a 20% growth in its loan book in FY21, said Arulmany, and expects to clock a 40-50% growth in FY22 to grow its loan book to around Rs2,400-2,500 crore.

The lenders gross non-performing assets (NPA) stood at 2.5% as of 31 March 2021 and Arulmany expects to close FY22 with NPA levels of below 2% as the lender has seen its collection efficiency recover to precovid levels and its customer base has shown strong resilience to the disruptions caused by covid-19.

Arulmany said that the lender is seeing strong demand for loans in states such as Andhra Pradesh, Tami Nadu and Telangana. The lender, which is currently present mostly in southern and eastern states, will look to expand its geographic presence in western India in the next 12-15 months, he said.

“The business continues to demonstrate strong execution, great team culture with a vision to become one of India’s leading retail NBFCs. The Company has invested in the right building blocks to enable scale with a high degree of corporate governance, technological prowess and institutionalization,” said Shiv Chaudhary, Managing Director of Norwest Venture Partners, India.

This article was first published on livemint.com.

Singapore Reporter/s

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

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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.