New Delhi: Indifi Technologies Pvt. Ltd, a start-up that helps small businesses secure loans, has raised $10 million in a series B round led by Omidyar Network, the investment firm started by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. Existing investors Accel Partners and Elevar Equity also participated in the round.Indifi will use the proceeds from the fund raising to scale its technology platform, expand the workforce, create new loan products and invest in partnerships with data vendors, co-founder and chief executive officer Alok Mittal said in a telephonic interview on Monday.
The company had raised an undisclosed round in September last year.“Indifi is a unique platform which has lenders on one side and borrowers on the other side. It smartly uses data to improve the credit assessment and the cost of discovery of these MSMEs which are the two main stumbling blocks as to why traditional lenders are not giving credit to this large fragmented sect," said Smita Aggarwal, director of investments at Omidyar Network.
Indifi offers unsecured loans to MSMEs in select industry segments through its partner NBFCs and banks. For example, it gives 30-day and 60-day working capital loans to firms in the travel booking space, a segment often snubbed by lenders due to its high volatility, besides offering credit to cab drivers and e-commerce merchants with alternative re-payment methods. It gathers its own data on the business and credit profile of an applicant and connects it to the most relevant financing partners. Based on its data and accompanying analytics, the lender can choose to finance the loan.
“We go into specific industry verticals and create specific lending solutions in those verticals. Now this whole application goes to whichever lender that it matches with. The final decision whether to give the loan or not depends on the lender. We enable the loan decision by bringing data and analytics together in a segment-specific manner," said Mittal.Essentially, the company caters to businesses that are underserved by organized lenders. It also manages the entire loan cycle of the borrower.On the lending side, it has tie-ups with four NBFCs, including Edelweiss Retail Finance and India Infoline, and two banks.
Indifi was started in October last year by Mittal, a serial entrepreneur and the co-founder of Indian Angel Network, along with Siddharth Mahanot and Sundeep Sahi. Prior to this, Mittal led the India operations for Canaan Partners, a US-based early stage venture investor.Currently, the company has loan products in six industry segments namely travel bookings, hotels, transportation, retail, e-commerce and manufacturing. It expects to add more segments going forward.Average ticket size of loans range between Rs50,000 and Rs50 lakh.
According to Mittal, the year-old company has so far dispersed over 1,000 loans worth Rs50 crore. It charges a fee from the lender which is received in parts throughout the life of the loan.Indifi competes with Mumbai-based SMEcorner and NBFC start-ups such as Capital Float and NeoGrowth.“In the MSME segment, which is a very large segment in India, there exists a huge credit gap. There are five crore MSMEs in India and it is estimated that the credit gap to these MSMEs is about Rs25 lakh crore. So we are talking about a really large addressable market," said Aggarwal from Omidyar Network, which has invested close to $200 million across 113 entities in India since 2010.