Indian micro-lending start-up SmartCoin raises $7 million Series A
an app-based consumer lending start-up, has raised over $7 million in Series A funding from LGT Lightstone Aspada and existing investors Unicorn India Ventures and Accion Venture Lab.
The FinTech lends to a largely underserved market in that country that is not a significant focus area for several banks, NBFCs, or microfinance institutions. The company plans to use the funds to grow the loan-book, expand its data science team, advancing its AI/ML-based underwriting platform, launching new products, and double its user base at 10 million.
The company’s product offering includes small ticket personal loans to micro-merchants, self-employed, and salaried individuals, who mainly borrow to fund their economic advancement. Use cases include working capital for micro-merchants, fuel and vehicle repair funding for delivery executives, vocational training for micro-entrepreneurs, and emergency medical needs of blue/grey collar workers.
Rohit Garg, Co-founder CEO, SmartCoin, said, “Our goal has been to provide access to credit to those underserved by the formal banking system. Our proprietary AI/ML-powered risk-assessment engine enables loan-approval within minutes and provides credit through a hassle-free, completely automated process.”
He further added that more in-depth insights into the customer’s financial and behavioral data, combined with a gamified ladder, enables unlocking better products over time and that SmartCoin stands out in a crowded fin-tech market.
The company was founded in 2017 and received an NBFC license in October 2019. In just two years, the company claims to have scaled up rapidly, serving customers across all the states and over 95% of districts of India. It has offered loans amounting to over 4 billion customers with a differentiated and scalable business model built on a suite of AI/ML engines trained over terabytes of data.
Kartik Srivatsa, Managing Partner, LGT Lightstone Aspada, commented, “… SmartCoin’s business model can provide data-driven insights in a customer segment that
is otherwise opaque and can unlock means of formal credit and financial services. We believe that their AI/ML engine can, over some time, also deliver personalized digital services in areas such as education and healthcare for this segment.”
To this, Bhaskar Majumdar, Managing Partner, Unicorn India Ventures, said, “… Their thesis that people are willing to pay back if given hassle-free loans and their ability to keep their NPAs lowest in their industry has prompted us to continue to invest in the company.”
“SmartCoin’s data-driven and responsible approach to digital lending enables them to reach underserved populations that lack access to credit effectively,” Vikas Raj, Managing Director, Accion Venture Lab, added.