CRED in talks to acquire mutual fund startup Kuvera

CRED is in talks to acquire Kuvera, a startup that operates an online wealth management platform, a source familiar with the matter told TechCrunch, in what is a sign of the Indian fintech giant’s growing interest in the lucrative category of stock investments and mutual funds.

The acquisition deliberations are ongoing and a deal could finalize within weeks, the source said, requesting anonymity as the details are private. CRED and Kuvera didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Kuvera, founded by industry veterans seven years ago, focuses on stable and conservative long-term investments and has won many affluent customers in India with its zero commission offering, reliable customer support service and a wide-range of investment tools such as the ability to automatically adjust the portfolio to avoid over reliance on a particular asset.

Kuvera, which has raised about $10 million to date and has worked with a number of firms, including Amazon, has an AUM of about $1.4 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter. It also offers its customers the ability to invest in stocks, including those listed in the U.S., and fixed deposits.

CRED’s interest in Kuvera comes at a time when the Indian fintech giant, which serves some of the country’s most affluent customers, is expanding its offerings. The eponymous app originally launched five years ago with the feature to help members pay their credit card bills on time. It has since added scores of features that incentivize good financial behavior and expanded to e-commerce and lending.

The startup, valued at over $6 billion, has been eyeing broadening its wealth management offerings for some time. Last year, it held talks with Bengaluru-headquartered Smallcase, but the talks didn’t materialize into a deal. (CRED has made a series of investments in the past three years, acquiring stakes in LiquiLoans and CredAvenue, and buying HapPay.)

Mutual funds can be a lucrative category for CRED, which processes a third of all credit card payments in India by volume.

The Indian mutual fund market is one of the largest and fastest-growing in the world. According to the Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI), the assets under management (AUM) of the Indian mutual fund industry stands at more than $575 billion, up over 20% from a year ago.

India’s expanding middle class, benefiting from higher disposable incomes, is fueling the growth of the mutual fund industry. Rising financial literacy and a surge in digital apps have heightened awareness while historical returns have solidified their appeal among Indian investors. And the room for growth remains ever-so-large as the number of consumers in India who buy financial products is still tiny.

“At the end of 2022, less than 10% of households’ financial assets were in the form of equity and fund products. But this is changing given the growing popularity of systematic investment plans that sends funds from consumers regularly into mutual funds, the rising popularity of insurance products and the growing adoption of credit cards and other financial products,” HSBC wrote in a report, accessed via S&P Global Intelligence.