Akbar Khan, CEO of LendEnable India. Jithendra M./Mint
Akbar Khan, CEO of LendEnable India. Jithendra M./Mint

How fintech firms are disrupting the ecosystem

The fintech sector has evolved from start-ups disrupting incumbents with their innovative approaches, to the incumbents collaborating with these start-ups to stay relevant and strengthen the financial services ecosystem

The adoption rate of financial technology, or fintech, in India among digitally-active consumers at 52% is second only to China at 69%, according to consultancy firm EY. The fintech sector itself has evolved from start-ups disrupting incumbents with their innovative approaches, to the incumbents collaborating with these start-ups to stay relevant and strengthen the financial services ecosystem. Here are seven such fintech start-ups—selected by iSpirt and Nasscom—that gave presentations at the Mint Fintech Summit 2018 in Bengaluru. Edited excerpts:

Helping borrowers improve their ability to secure debt

LendEnable Ltd describes itself as a credit insights firm that uses technology to facilitate intelligent lending. Its focus is mainly on the SME (small and medium enterprises) sector. It gathers financial data from a number of sources and generates a credit profile of individual companies and their ability to meet financial obligations based on their historic cash position and performance against peers. While its eponymous tool targets lenders, investors and the corporate community, the firm is also developing another tool, aimed at borrowers. Through CreditEnable, it helps borrowers understand and improve their ability to secure debt. It does this by giving borrowers financial performance insights against peers, and tips on what they can do to become more attractive to lenders. LendEnable wants to deliver a value proposition that addresses SME lenders’ pain-points—i.e. willingness to pay, borrow and repay.

Offering instant online loans

Founded by Ankush Aggarwal and Tushar Mehndiratta in February 2017, Avail Finance provides Indians with instant online loans. The company’s customer base included blue collar workers who are underserved by lending institutions. The market that the company targets has less or no credit card penetration and there is a lack of structured credit history to identify potential borrowers. Avail Finance has already raised a total of $17.2 million till date, which includes debt and credit lines from multiple non-banking financial institutions and other investors. The start-up claims to leverage alternate forms of parameters sourced from companies it works with, to underwrite loan applications. It also uses India Stack’s integration to find borrowers.

Automating the workflow to cut workforce inefficiencies

Founded by Nizamudheen Valliyattu in 2016, Toolyt provides software for firms to improve the productivity of their field force. Last year, the company was selected by Facebook Inc. for its start-up mentoring programme called FbStart. Toolyt offers tools that help firms automate their workflow, track their sales people on a real-time basis and cut inefficiencies of their sales force. Its software allows firms to analyse and forecast their sales operations. Toolyt uses machine learning to power its tools. The start-up employs 27 people, including engineers, marketers and content writers.

Smallest wearable wallet

Founded in 2014 by Rajeshwar Mitra and Sudhir Jha, Radiius is a fintech start-up based out of New Jersey. Its main product is called Bee, which the company claims is the smallest wearable wallet in the world. Bee allows customers to put all their cards in a small device from which they can pay for anything. Its other products include Quadrus, a sleek device that allows users to save multiple credit card details. The card allows customers to use any credit card of their choice, which means they don’t need to carry several cards with them.

Intelligent credit analyser

InsigniQ Inc. builds intelligent credit models using technology that adds new dimensions to calculations. Its models can help find the credit score of individuals, capital risk of a borrower’s company, or document-related fraud. The company uses attributes, case studies and data points from several sources to create activity graph for entities. Its team includes industry veterans and start-up advisors with a combined experience of over 15 years. InsigniQ describes itself as problem solvers rather than innovators and its aim is to disrupt the lending culture and revolutionize risk management. It offers four major solutions—credit scoring, analytics, default prediction and fraud detection. Its credit scoring solution, for instance, uses techniques based on more than 1,000 attributes and the company claims it can be a highly effective model for consumers with no credit data.

Paperless customer acquisition

Manch Technologies Pvt. Ltd was established in 2016 with an aim of enabling organizations to conduct trust-based speedy, accurate, efficient transactions through cashless, presence-less, paperless technology framework. Despite a lot of technological advancement, it takes firms days to get a customer on board, Manch says, adding that the challenges of a paper-driven system end up in mounting costs too. To expedite that on-boarding process at various organizations, and as part of the digitization move in India, Manch launched a plug-and-play, cloud-based, SAAS (software as a service) single-click work flow e-sign solution. The firm uses digital signatures to sign offer letters of its own employees, and has no printers at its workplace.

Credit line with EMI option

Founded by Rohit Sen and Nupur Gupta, Nira Finance is a fintech start-up that offers online loans or “a line of credit" as the company calls it. The credit line of up to 1 lakh is then to be paid back in equated monthly instalments or EMIs. The company offers these loans to Indians between 21-65 years of age, who have a college degree, have been working for at least six months and earn a monthly salary of 20,000. The firm has built a model that assigns credit scores to customers. The interest rate on loans are in the range of 1.5-2.25% per month and vary based on the customer’s credit score.

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