Digital lending startup ZestMoney snags $15m funding led by Goldman

A view of the Goldman Sachs stall on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange July 16, 2013. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

Bengaluru-based digital lending startup ZestMoney has raised $15 million in an extended Series B funding round led by American investment banking giant Goldman Sachs.

The company’s existing investors Naspers Fintech, Quona Capital, and Omidyar Network also participated in the financing.

ZestMoney had raised $20 million in the first tranche of Series B funding led by US-based venture capital firm Quona Capital this April. Its total funding to date stands at $63 million, TechCrunch reported.

“The capital we’ve raised in this latest round will enable us to accelerate product development, grow our strategic partnerships and scale our platform further to help support the dreams and aspirations of an ever-increasing number of Indian households,” said Lizzie Chapman, co-founder and CEO of ZestMoney.

Founded in 2015 by Chapman, Priya Sharma, and Ashish Anantharaman, ZestMoney uses AI and machine learning to do risk profiling of e-commerce consumers who opt for equated monthly instalment (EMI) payments. Simultaneously, the startup also works with financial institutions to provide loans to such consumers.

In August last year, ZestMoney reportedly raised $13.4 million in an extension of its Series A round led by Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi. The round also saw participation from existing investors PayU, Ribbit Capital and Omidyar Network. It had raised $6.5 million in a Series A round led by PayU in February 2017.

ZestMoney estimates that there are as many as 600 million people in the country who are creditworthy but are not offered loans by traditional financial institutions.

“India is one of the most exciting fintech markets in the world. We see this investment in one of the country’s leading consumer lending fintech companies as fostering much-needed access to affordable consumer credit to Indian households,” said Philip Aldis, a managing director at Goldman Sachs. “We look forward to leveraging our global experience and network for the continued growth of ZestMoney.”

ZestMoney claims to have more than 6 million registered customers in India, and partnerships with about 3,000 merchants, including Flipkart, Myntra, MMT, ClearTrip, Paytm and Amazon, to offer financing options at point-of-sale.

The company expects to cross an annual run rate of over $1 billion in disbursal run rate in less than 18 months.

Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs is an active investor in the Indian startup space. Earlier this month, the firm led a $30-million funding round in online makeup and beauty products retailer Purplle. Last month, the firm participated in a $290-million funding round of Automation Anywhere, a provider of robotic process automation (RPA).

Goldman’s other notable investments this year include online mortgage lender Better.com, enterprise-focused artificial intelligence (AI) startup H2O.ai, education financing company MPower, budget hotel chain FabHotels and logistics startup BlackBuck.

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.