Accion, a US-based non-profit organisation, has sold its stake in Aye Finance to Indian investment firm A91 Partners.
A91 is a venture capital firm founded by ex-Sequoia executives VT Bharadwaj, Abhay Pandey, Gautam Mago and Kaushik Anand in November 2018. The firm has been focusing on startups in consumer, financial services, technology and healthcare sectors in India.
The first fund of $351Mn was raised in 2019 and its portfolio includes Mumbai-based make-up brand Sugar Cosmetics, Hector Beverages which owns popular drink brand Paper Boat and Atomberg Technologies. A91 Partners is focused on making mid-stage investments, in Series B and C deals ranging between $10 Mn and $30 Mn.
“Over the last 2 years, Aye has grown from INR 500 Cr to over INR 1500 Cr of AUM using technology as a backbone to scale the business,” said Kaushik Anand, Partner, A91 Partners.
Fintech lender Aye Finance was founded in 2014 and caters to unbanked micro-enterprises of India. Accion first participated in Aye’s seed equity round in early 2015 along with SAIF Partners. It provided additional capital in the two subsequent equity rounds as well.
“The Aye Finance team has built a sustainable and profitable business while helping thousands of microenterprises with access to formal credit. We look forward to partnering with them in their journey to build an enduring franchise,” Anand added.
Accion focuses on microfinance and fintech impact investments. The firm catalyses financial service providers to deliver affordable solutions at scale and has partnered with more than 110 partners in 50 countries. In the initial years, Accion had also partnered with Aye on various advisory projects across risk and analytical verticals.
“Aye Finance provides much-needed financial services to India’s small and medium-sized informal businesses and the entrepreneurs who run them – a critical, but often overlooked and underserved, population,” Michael Schlein, president and CEO of Accion said in a statement.
Schlein explained that this was the reason Accion supported Aye at its earliest stages with capital and advisory services. “We are proud to exit five years later knowing that Aye has reached more than two hundred thousand customers and is on a clear trajectory to continue growing and advancing financial inclusion,” he said.
Aye Finance has disbursed 200K loans till date and Accion’s support helped them in the transition from a startup to a mid-size organisation. “We are grateful for their initial capital and advisory support in the last 5 years. A91 Partners are a quality investor team and our growth trajectory will get strengthened with their India focus,” Sanjay Sharma, founder and managing director, Aye Finance, said. The deal was led by Kaushik Anand of A91, who was earlier in Aye Finance board as Nominee Director of CapitalG.