engaluru-based consumer lending startup SmartCoin said it has raised more than $7 million in a Series A funding from LGT Lightstone Aspada and existing investors Unicorn India Ventures and Accion Venture Lab. The company offers small-ticket personal loans to micro merchants as well as self-employed and salaried individuals.
“Our choice to build for the credit-starved mass market and strong portfolio performance has helped SmartCoin stand out in a crowded fintech market," said Rohit Garg, co-founder and CEO, SmartCoin.
The startup plans to use the current round of funding to primarily to grow their loan book. SmartCoin also plans to expand its data science team, advancing its artificial and machine learning (AI/ML)-based underwriting platform, launching new products, and increasing its user base to 10 million.
SmartCoin began operations in 2017 and has since scaled rapidly, serving customers across all the states and more than 95% districts of India, the company claimed. It has offered loans amounting to more than ₹400 crore to half a million customers, with a pan-India user base of more than five million. It received non-banking financial company licence in October 2019.
“SmartCoin’s business model has the ability to 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 a period of time also deliver personalized digital services in areas such as education and healthcare for this segment," said Kartik Srivatsa, managing partner, LGT Lightstone Aspada.
The company has been recognized internationally among the top 50 startups driving financial inclusion around the globe by Visa, IFC, and Metlife. It was also the only fintech startup in 2019 to successfully graduate from both Google’s Launchpad Accelerator programme and its App Excellence Program for its advanced data-driven, mobile-first approach.
“We identified SmartCoin quite early in their journey and decided to invest in the company. Rohit and his team decided to penetrate perhaps the most difficult customer segment. Their thesis that people are willing to payback if given hassle-free loans and their ability to keep their non-performing assets lowest in their industry has prompted us to continue to invest in the SmartCoin," said Bhaskar Majumdar, managing partner, Unicorn India Ventures.
Unitus Capital acted as an exclusive financial advisor to the transaction.