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Bennett Coleman and Co Ltd (BCCL) has acquired stakes in online lending platform FinREQ. With this, FinREQ will now focus on enhancing the deal flow with better brand recognition and market awareness in India.

Speaking about the company’s future plans, co-founder and Director of FinREQ stated, “Online Portal always needs more media and advertising support than others in order to build a brand for its products, thereby enhancing their market potential. The brand capital model is an innovative way of funding for growing companies like ours and by having BCCL as an investor in our company we get tremendous benefits. With this association, we will now focus on enhancing the deal flow with better brand recognition and market awareness in India.”

FinREQ has developed its own algorithm, analytics and matchmaking features for its online lending platform which connects the right borrowers with the right lenders, claims the company. Loans up to $47.3 Mn (INR 300 Cr) can be processed online. The portal has tie-ups with more than 50 leading lenders in the country and is sector agnostic. Additionally, it offers all debt products for lending.

FinREQ intends to reduce physical meetings, documentation and email correspondences in transactions by up to 80%. As stated by the company’s spokesperson, borrowers have the facility to upload their proposal digitally and get the loans processed faster with help of certified consultants.

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While the company was founded by CA Bhavik Mehta and ex-banker Bipin Mehta in 2011, the online lending portal FinREQ (.com) has been launched today. The portal deals with end-to-end loan products for businesses and retail customers. Previously, in tie-ups with nationalised, co-operative, foreign and private banks as well as NBFCs and housing finance companies, both Bhavik and Bipin were advising clients on their lending requirements.

The current Internet penetration in India stands at 456 Mn and is poised to grow further in coming years. There are more than 50 Mn MSMEs across tier II, tier III and iier IV cities, out of which only 2% of MSMEs borrow from traditional financial institutions.

The market demand has fueled the mushrooming of a number of lending and loan platforms. These platforms have also been successful in securing huge fundings and backing from VCs.

Last month, Mumbai-based online lending platform FlexiLoans had raised an institutional debt funding of about $7 Mn (INR45 Cr) from Financial Institution(s). The startup is backed by investors Sanjay Nayar, CEO of KKR India, Anil Jaggia, Vikram Sud, and Narayan Seshadri.

Gurugram-based P2P lending startup Faircent had closed $3.9 Mn in a Series B round of funding. Investors that participated in the round included Incofin Investment Management and Faircent’s other investors JM Financial, 3one4 Capital, M&S Partners Pte Ltd and Aarin Capital. Another Gurugram-based SME lending platform OfBusiness had secured $3.8 Mn (INR 25 Cr) in debt funding from Kotak Mahindra Bank in October last year.

With BCCL having a huge in-house media set up, the online lending portal FinREQ will have a clear advantage in terms of strategising brand building and recognition.

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