Ahmedabad-based SME lending startup Lendingkart has raised $4.7 Mn (INR 30 Cr) in its first-ever foreign debt funding round from a Dutch development bank – Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden N.V. (FMO).
This new influx of debt funds will be used towards growing the loan book and expanding the reach of Lendingkart Finance across SME industries in different parts of the country.
“This freshly raised capital from our first financial inclusion and impact focused global fund, will be utilised to refuel our loan books that will allow us to cater to a wider range of SMEs who need working capital finance,” said Harshvardhan Lunia, CEO, and Co-founder, Lendingkart.
Earlier in December 2017, Lendingkart raised $3.8 Mn in debt funding from Indian public sector bank SBI. It also secured $10.9 Mn (INR 70 Cr) funding from Sistema Asia Fund as well as existing investors Bertelsmann India Investment, Mayfield India, Saama Capital and others in September 2017.
Founded in 2014 by ex-banker Harshvardhan Lunia and former ISRO scientist Mukul Sachan, Lendingkart is an instant working capital finance platform that provides SMEs with easy access to credit and working capital. Aligned with the government’s vision to achieve financial inclusion, the company focuses on providing short-term loans with small-ticket sizes.
With offices in Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, and Mumbai, the company is currently gearing to increase its presence across India. As of today, Lendingkart claims to have disbursed over 20,000 loans to more than 13,000 SMEs across 23 diverse sectors with 470K SMEs reaching out for their credit requirements. Till date, Lendingkart has expanded its operations pan India and is present in over 950 cities.
The fintech startup uses proprietary technology tools based on machine learning algorithms and big data analytics to determine a borrower’s client’s creditworthiness. At present, the company provides short-term working capital loans ranging from $740 to $14.8K (INR 50K to 10 Lakhs).
As Marnix Monsfort, FMO’s Head of Financial Institutions, Asia, said, “Digital lending is an exciting and a large space that has grown tremendously in the last couple of years. The innovation that the sector has witnessed has played a key role in bringing financial inclusivity to the remotest corners of India. We greatly look forward to working with Lendingkart to further their vision of financial and digital inclusion among SMEs across the country.”
With a committed portfolio of $11.6 Bn (€9.8 Bn), FMO is one of the larger bilateral private sector development banks globally.
In its current form, the SME sector contributes about 45% to the nation’s GDP. As Ashish Mohapatra, CEO and Co-founder of SME financing platform OfBusiness stated in a recent conversation with Inc42, “This is about three times the corporate sector’s contribution, and is estimated to have around 51 Mn units that employ more than 46 Cr people. And yet, the sector faces a debt gap of $46 Bn (INR 2.93 Tn).”
This considerably limits its true potential and creates an equivalent opportunity for SME lending portals like Lendingkart in India. The latest debt funding round from the foreign bank will further open new avenues of foreign funding for Lendingkart, thus helping in its mission to reach the existing brigade of 48 Mn SMEs in India.