Gurugram-based Power2SME, a ‘Buying Club’ for SMEs in India has raised $10 Mn in equity funding from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private investment arm of the World Bank. In addition to the investment, IFC will also advise Power2SME to help it expand beyond its current reach in 14 states. It will also improve its ability to provide working capital to SMEs by adding more banks as partners.
R Narayan, CEO Power2SME stated, “IFC’s extensive experience in supporting the SME sector through financing and deep networks with banks and financial institutions will help us in our vision to make SMEs bankable. Indian SMEs are critical to making India a manufacturing hub and we must foster the sector if we are to meet the national imperative of inclusive growth. We aim to continue strengthening the SME ecosystem by addressing key challenges that are roadblocks to SME growth. We have aggressive plans to boost our revenues and continue on our path of profitability.”
In this vein, the ecommerce platform that helps small and medium companies buy raw materials at bulk prices will also aim to increase the number of users on its platforms by up to 10 times in five years.
Founded in 2012 by R Narayan, Power2SME aggregates raw material and product demands from hundreds of small and medium businesses and places bulk orders with suppliers and manufacturers, thereby ensuring competitive prices. It has over 50,000 SMEs on its platform and currently operates in SME hubs of Gujarat, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Delhi-NCR.
Prior to this funding, Power2SME raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani and existing venture capital (VC) funds – Accel Partners, Kalaari Capital and Inventus Capital in January last year. The amount invested was estimated to be around $20 Mn (INR 140 Cr). Nandan Nilekani joined it as a strategic advisor through his investment.
Here’s a look at the other funding rounds raised by Power2SME-
- In September 2014, it raised $6 Mn in Series C round led by its existing investors, Accel Partners, Kalaari Capital and Inventus Capital.
- In 2013, it had raised it $5.57 Mn in Series B round of funding from Inventus and Kalaari.
- In October 2012, it had raised $1.56 Mn(INR 10 Cr) from Inventus Capital Partners and Kalaari Capital in Series A.
IFC’s investment in the SME sector will spur further VC interest in the SME sector in the country, which of late is witnessing significant investor interest. IFC is one of the early institutional investors in India’s SME finance space and has invested close to $1 Bn in financial intermediaries in India to enable credit financing for SMEs. Micro, small and medium enterprises form a large part of the Indian economy, accounting for 45% of the country’s industrial output and 40% of its exports. As per reports by Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, there are 48.8 Mn MSMEs in India, and there is critical shortage of long-term funding for the sector.
With banks and NBFCS servicing about $150 Bn of SME needs and unmet needs falling anywhere $20-500 Bn, SME lending has emerged as one of the deepest non-penetrated verticals in India. Besides Power2SME, today another SME lending startup Lendingkart has also raised funding to the tune of $10.9 Mn in the form of equity funds from Singapore-based Sistema Asia Fund along with current investors. Last month, Bengaluru-based online SME lending platform Capital Float has raised $45 Mn Series C funding, led by Silicon Valley-based Ribbit Capital.