Indian microlender SmartCoin snags $7m led by LGT Lightstone Aspada

Photo: Pixabay

Bengaluru-based micro-lending company SmartCoin has raised about $7 million in a fresh funding round led by impact investment fund LGT Lightstone Aspada.

Existing investors Unicorn India Ventures and Accion Venture Lab also participated in the round.

The latest financing for SmartCoin comes almost two years after it raised $2 million in a pre-Series A funding round led by an undisclosed Chinese venture capital firm. Accion Venture Lab, Unicorn India Ventures and ISME ACE, a fintech accelerator in Mumbai, had also participated in the round in March 2018.

The startup plans to use the fresh funding to expand its loan book to Rs 1,500 crore, and user base to 10 million over the next 12 months. It also aims to expand its data science team, advancing its AI/ML-based underwriting platform, and launch new products.

Unitus Capital acted as the financial adviser for the transaction.

Founded in January 2016 by IIT, IIM alumni Rohit Garg, Amit Chandel, Vinay Kumar Singh, and Jayant Upadhyay, SmartCoin offers small-to-mid-sized ticket loans to mobile users after building a SmartCoin credit score, which is backed by data science and machine learning.

“We believe that their AI/ML engine can over a period of time also deliver personalized digital services in areas such as education and healthcare for this segment,” Kartik Srivatsa, Managing Partner, LGT Lightstone Aspada, said.

SmartCoin obtained the non-banking financial company (NBFC) licence last year and has so far issued loans worth Rs 400 crore. It closely competes with the likes of IndiaLends, EarlySalary & Cash Suvidha, according to Owler.

IndiaLends last raised $10 million in a Series B round of funding led by London-headquartered asset management firm ACPI Investment Managers and India-focused venture capital firm Ganesh Ventures in July 2018. The same year, EarlySalary also raised $15.8 million in a funding round led by Eight Roads Ventures India.

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.