Bengaluru-based online lending platform Avail Finance has raised $17.2 Mn in a Series A funding round led by Matrix Partners. The round is a mix of debt and equity.

Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati, Ola’s co-founders; Binny Bansal, co-founder & group CEO of Flipkart; Kunal Shah, founder of Freecharge; and Manish Patel, founder and CEO of Mswipe, have also participated in the round.

“Consumer lending to the blue-collared workforce is a large, untapped and hard to solve opportunity. We are impressed by Avail’s differentiated sourcing and underwriting strategy, and are privileged to partner with Ankush and Tushar on their journey. We believe it’s still early days of the India Fintech story and will continue to invest in the space”, said Vikram Vaidyanathan, Managing Director, Matrix India.

Prior to this, Avail Finance also raised $200K in a funding round led by Bhavish Aggarwal last year.

Founded by Ankush Aggarwal and Tushar Mehndiratta in February 2017, Avail Finance caters to India’s blue-collared workforce, who are currently underserved by organised lending institutions. With low credit card penetration and the lack of structured credit history, this large segment of the Indian population resorts to availing credit from informal sources at high-interest rates.

In order to bridge this gap, the startup is leveraging alternate digital data and the power of the India stack (Aadhaar, eKYC, UPI).  It lends anywhere between INR 5,000- 60,000 as personal loans at a monthly interest rate of 1.2-2%.

As Ankush said, “By solving for the core of the problem in not having a credit history, using advanced technology, data sciences and artificial intelligence, we are bringing a new approach to an age-old problem.”

Matrix Partners India is an active investor in the Indian tech space. Earlier, it invested a significant amount of funding in startups such as DocTalk (healthtech), Gobasco (agritech), CreditVidya (fintech), LoadShare (logistics), TestBook (edtech)among others. It also participated in Treebo Hotels’ $34 Mn Series C funding round in August 2017.

According to a report by Credit Suisse, the global consumer and SME loan market is expected to reach $3 Tn over the next decade, owing to government’s initiatives to provide hassle-free and cashless financial transactions. Also, the online financial marketplace industry is expected to become a $2.3 Bn market by 2020. In this booming opportunity, to what extent, Avail Finance can scale its online lending activities with the latest round of funding, will be something to watch for.

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