•Well-reputed Shanghai-headquartered VC leads the round with Accion Venture Lab co-investing
• Accion Venture Lab is the seed investment initiative of global financial inclusion leader Accion
• Raising investment from top investors from two of the biggest markets in the world, to strengthen SmartCoin’s domestic and international expansion plans
• ISME ACE and existing investor Unicorn India Ventures also participated in the round
Mumbai, March 28, 2018– Bangalore-based fintech startup, SmartCoin, has raised $2 million in pre-Series A funding from a top Chinese VC fund and Accion Venture Lab. Unicorn India Ventures, which is an existing investor in the company, also participated in the round, along with ISME ACE, a leading fintech accelerator.
SmartCoin lends small-to-mid-sized ticket loans to mobile users after building a SmartCoin credit score, which is backed by data science and machine learning. The company raised seed funding from Unicorn India Ventures last year.
Rohit Garg, Co-founder and CEO, SmartCoin, says, “We have seen a sharp uptick in growth over the past year and have successfully disbursed over 50,000 micro loans. More importantly, we have been able to open credit access for people who were not able to tap the formal channels and were otherwise dependent on personal networks and loan sharks. With this round, we expect to grow the momentum and further scale 10X over the next 6–12 months. Having specialists as investors, who are passionate about micro-lending, on board will only help us cover more ground not only in India but globally too.”
Accion Venture Lab is the world’s leading seed-stage investor in fintech for the underserved. Accion Venture Lab invests capital in, and provides support to, innovative fintech startups that increase access to, improve the quality of, or reduce the cost of financial services for the underserved at scale.
“SmartCoin illustrates how innovative lenders are leveraging data, mobile access, and India’s digital infrastructure to extend loan access for the financially underserved,” says Michael Schlein, President and CEO of Accion. Paarul Dudeja, Director of Investments for India, Accion Venture Lab adds, “SmartCoin exemplifies what we at Accion Venture Lab look for in a partner, with its strong entrepreneurial team that is driven by the mission of providing increased access to credit through nano lending to the underserved by using an all-digital platform to expand its reach.”
SmartCoin was started by IIT/IIM alumnus Rohit Garg, Amit Chandel, Vinay Kumar Singh, and Jayant Upadhyay in 2016, who comes with around a decade of work experience across finance and technology domains.
“We invested in SmartCoin last year as we saw an immense potential in the business. Over the course of the year, we have realized the ability of the team to scale its operations rapidly given the right ammunition. Thus, being able to raise top dollar from two of the world’s largest markets is a testament to our belief in the team,” says Archana Priyadarshini, Partner, Unicorn India Ventures. “We expect the Company to continue its growth trajectory and at Unicorn India, we believe in backing potential winners. Thus, we decided to participate in this round,” she adds.
The Company is already working with several partners for disbursing loans and has achieved strong organic growth. SmartCoin plans to further invest in technology and grow its team as it continues with its expansion plans, with an aim to cover a much larger customer base.
SmartCoin is a consumer micro-lending platform focused on the vast underserved middle/lower-income segments in India. We are aiming to bring greater financial inclusion, as a significant population in India does not have sufficient credit histories, and thus no access to credit. Our proprietary credit underwriting models are based on machine learning and advanced data science over vast amount of traditional and non-traditional variables. Our team comprises of IIT/IIM graduates with senior level experience in various investment banks and tech start-ups, and a passion to use technology to solve fundamental consumer problems.
Accion is a global nonprofit committed to creating a financially inclusive world, with a pioneering legacy in microfinance and fintech impact investing. We catalyze financial service providers to deliver high-quality, affordable solutions at scale for the three billion people who are left out of – or poorly served by – the financial sector. For more than 50 years, Accion has helped tens of millions of people through its work with more than 90 partners in 40 countries. More athttp://www.accion.org.
About ISME ACE
ISME ACE is a Mumbai-based, leading FinTech focused accelerator. ISME ACE intends to create Multi-nodal ecosystem servicing all core and ancillary needs of next FinTech Unicorns.
ISME ACE operates in a cohort based system and makes typical investments of $100-200k in start-ups, along with providing a whole support ecosystem consisting of legal services, accounting services, Technology advisory, Cloud credits and co-working spaces around the country to its start-ups through various ecosystem partners. The ISME ACE team embeds itself and works closely with the investee start-ups to accelerate their progress.
For its first cohort, the accelerator had selected 6 companies namely Artoo, Cashcow, Moneytor, Open Technologies, SmartCoin and Trendlyne.
The accelerator is currently accepting applications for its next cohort. More atwww.ismeace.com
About Unicorn Ventures
Unicorn India Ventures is a Mumbai ¬based VC fund that invests in early stage startups working on business ideas spanning sectors like consumer, enterprise, healthcare and deep technology domains.
Unicorn India Ventures was started in 2015 by Anil Joshi and Bhaskar Majumdar. The Fund invests solely or co-invests with another fund or institution in a startup with an innovative business idea, which can solve a real life problem. The deal size will vary from $1,00,000 to $2 million and should meet the following criteria:
• Ability to scale up rapidly in terms of revenues and customer adoption
• Capital efficient business model
• Startup should be backed by a committed and a passionate entrepreneur
• Business should have the potential to address the global market.
• Unicorn has done the first close of their maiden fund.
The Fund has already announced investments in 15 startups like GenRobotic, SectorQube, Perfectfit, Boxx.ai, Sequretek, SmartCoin, GrabonRent, Inc42, NeuroEquilibrium, VLCC VanityCube, Roder, and Pharmarack.
The Fund recently announced its foray into venture debt by launching Rs 600 crore venture debt fund.