Gurugram-based digital lending company Aye Finance has raised $9.8 Mn (INR 70 Cr) in debt funding from Delhi-based social impact fund BlueOrchard. The company plans to use the fresh funding to expand to newer geographies and disburse loans more actively to its existing borrower base. Sanjay Sharma and Vikram Jetley founded Aye Finance in 2014 as new-age finance company that provides customer-centred financial services to the small and micro enterprises across India. As a non-banking financial company, it strives to make mortgage, hypothecation, and term loan services accessible to the country\u2019s underserved MSME sector. A July 2018 statement issued by Aye Finance revealed\u00a0that the company has expanded its reach to 100 cities in 11 Indian states so far. Sanjay Sharma, MD and Founder, Aye Finance said, \u201cBlueOrchard has been supporting us in our mission of fostering inclusive growth since 2017 and via the MIFA Technical Assistance Facility has now also co-designed and co-financed a Social Impact Study for our customers as well as a Social Performance Study for which we are using the globally accepted SPI4 Tool (Social performance indicators assessment tool)." How Aye Finance Reaches Underserved Population? Aye Finance currently works on a Cluster-Based Credit Assessment methodology that uses insights of each industry cluster to underwrite the risk of lending to micro businesses.\u00a0Aye also gains debt facility from institutions like SBI, HDFC Bank, BlueOrchard, Triodos Investment, and Symbiotics. Aye Finance has a Pan-India presence with 104 branches in 100 cities and a team size of over 1600 employees. The company uses various data science tools \u2013 psychometric profile tools, behaviour based statistical credit scores and constantly improving cluster insights, in arriving at the decision to lend to the micro and small-scale enterprises. Further, by using crowd CRM and teaching its borrowers to use non-cash modes of repayment, the online lending startup has been able to reduce the costs of origination and servicing of loans. Fintech: Top Sector, Innovation And Investor Interest To begin with, according to Inc42's flagship Ecosystem Report, Fintech as a sector has received $6.3 Bn funding since 2008 across 815 deals. This continues to be the trend, as the Indian Tech Startup Funding\u00a0Q1 2018 report, states that fintech startups raised a combined funding of $631.29 Mn across 70 deals in H1 2018. Notably, the\u00a0players contributing the most\u00a0this sectoral growth include Zestmoney,\u00a0Lendingkart,\u00a0and more In August 2018, Bengaluru-based\u00a0digital lending startup ZestMoney raised $13.4 Mn\u00a0in extended Series A round of funding led by Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi.\u00a0LoanTap, which is based in Bengaluru\u00a0had raised $6.25 Mn\u00a0(INR 43 Cr) in an equity funding round led by Beijing-based venture capital firm Shunwei Capital. A\u00a0Nasscom report forecasted\u00a0the Indian fintech software market to touch $2.4 Bn by 2020, from the current $1.2 Bn. With regard to Aye Finance, in an atmosphere of venture financing, the company has rooted for debt financing from major financial organisations of the country such as IFMR, SBI and others, to cater to its online lending needs.