Upwards Fintech raises $5 million from Chinese venture fund Shunwei, others
The Mumbai-based start-up plans to utilize the funds to strengthen its technology and data science capabilities
New Delhi: Fintech start-up Upwards Fintech Pvt. Ltd on Tuesday said it has raised $5 million in a Series A round from Chinese venture fund Shunwei Captial. Existing seed investors India Quotient and Mayfield also participated in the funding round.
Founded in 2017 by IIT Delhi graduates Abhishek Soni and Nimesh Verma, Upwards Fintech provides personal loans within 24 hours up to ₹50,000 for salaried individuals without a credit history earning at least ₹15,000 a month. It claims to aggregate data from different mediums and generates a credit report with over 500 data points available.
The Mumbai-based start-up plans to utilize the funds to strengthen its technology and data science capabilities and expand to more cities. It is currently present in 30 cities in Tier-1 and Tier-2 towns including Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Chennai.
“The mobile disruption occurring in India today is very similar to what happened in China eight years back. While India’s fintech industry is still very young, Upwards has exhibited tremendous growth since its inception over a year back,” Tuck Lye Koh, chief executive officer at Shunwei Capital said in a statement.
Upwards disburses loans through Bajrang Investments Pvt. Ltd, a non-banking financial institution and claims to have non-performing assets of less than 1%.
Soni said that Upwards is targeting a loan book of Rs 100 crore in the next year. It has disbursed loans worth ₹4 crore since November last year with 4000 applications and an active user base of 250,000.
The company charges a processing fee of 2% on the loan amount and levies interest rates of 18-32%.
Soni said, “We firmly believe that conventional underwriting and loan offerings cannot serve the needs of India’s emerging middle class and have invested heavily in building advanced data science driven underwriting algorithms to address this gap.”
He added that 40% of the credit demand is from smaller towns such as Bikaner (Rajasthan), Mandi (Karnataka) and Erode (Tamil Nadu). Upwards is in a pilot mode for deeper penetration in the Tier 2 and 3 markets, he said.
Upwards competes with other lending startups such as LoanTap Financial Technologies Pvt. Ltd and IDG Ventures backed Early Salary (Social Worth Technologies Pvt Ltd) that has tied with Walmart’s Flipkart and Amazon to offer employee loans.
Recently PayU India also launched consumer facing deferred payment offering called LazyPay.
“Having seen the micro-finance boom India first-hand, I am excited by the large market opportunity Upwards is targeting,” said Madhukar Sinha, partner at India Quotient.
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