The digital loans business in India has been the subject of a lot of controversy, not least for over-predatory and un-transparent practices, yet that’s existed alongside the rise of a handful of startups hoping to apply tech to build products that are clearly understood and fill a need in the market for quick, short-term access to capital. Today, one of these — KreditBee, which provides instant personal loans to users — is announcing that it has raised $80 million in a Series D funding round.
The funding is notable coming at a time when raising capital has become more complicated due to the economic slowdown in markets worldwide.The startup projects to cross an assets under management (AUM) mark of more than $1 billion over the next six to nine months; currently that figure is $492 million.
KreditBee has gained popularity in a market where a large number of people do not have a credit history. However, the startup has faced regulatory challenges as the central bank recently brought updates, including the restriction for loading non-bank prepaid payment instruments (PPIs) using credit lines. It is also getting competition from several loan apps that are freely available in the market despite measures taken from the regulatory side, and companies, including Google, due to their predatory behaviour.
Azim Premji’s Premji Invest, Motilal Oswal Alternates, TPG-backed NewQuest Capital Partners and Mirae Asset Ventures — all previous backers — invested, as did Japan’s MUFG Bank. The company said it’s keeping the Series D open, meaning more might be coming into the round. It declined to provide further details on that front.
It’s also not disclosing its valuation. Dealroom pegged it at $375 million, although a spokesperson said this figure was not accurate. KreditBee has to date provided loans to 6 million customers and said it currently has more than 2 million active loan customers.
Previously, in 2021, KreditBee raised $75 million in a Series C round. KreditBee has raised more than $280 million to date. The startup said it is planning to use the fresh funds to invest in its product development, specifically to expand from unsecured personal loans to secured loans, home loans and credit lines, and to start work on adjacent services such as insurance, credit score reports and merchant-side offers. The platform said it reaches more than 400 million users across India — although it’s not clear if that’s an active customer number — and that it has partnerships with more than 10 financial institutions.
“The investment adds more weight to our vision of encouraging financial independence through a smart digital experience, which is what India stands for today. With the current round, we look forward to expand our set of solutions to serve our growing consumer base,” Madhusudan E, co-founder and CEO, KreditBee, said in a statement.
“KreditBee is run on the ethos of enabling underserved customers an easy access to financial products through tech-enabled underwriting. We are very excited to partner with KreditBee in their growth journey of providing financial services to millions of customers,” said Shashank Joshi, deputy CEO and head Global Corporate Banking, MUFG India.
KreditBee today offers instant personal loans of up to $3,700 (3 lakhs Indian rupees) as well as loans for salaried individuals and purchases via e-commerce platforms. Providing a complement to the longer process of applying to banks directly for loans, to facilitate lending on its platform, KreditBee works both with non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and banks registered with the Reserve Bank of India, including Krazybee Services, IIFL Finance, Incred Financial Services, Vivriti Capital, Northern Arc Capital, PayU Finance, Poonawalla Fincorp, Piramal Capital and Housing Finance and Cholamandalam Investment and Finance.
“The KreditBee growth journey since inception has been remarkable, and it has spearheaded many innovations in the consumer lending space. We’re confident of KreditBee further consolidating its market leadership position in the coming times,” mentioned Atul Gupta, a partner at Premji Invest.