Bengaluru-based microcredit-focused Avanti Finance has raised USD 26 million (Rs 195 crore) in debt and equity from a funding round led by Oikocredit, Nomura and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Technology entrepreneur and philanthropist Pratul Shroff and the existing investor NRJN Trust of Ratan Tata, have also participated in the latest finding round, the non-banking finance company (NBFC) said in a statement on Thursday.
“We are humbled to have these marquee investors partner us in ushering in the next era of financial inclusion,” said Rahul Gupta, the chief executive of Avanti Finance.
The lender will use the funds to strengthen its platform and expand the presence to accelerate livelihoods credit and other products.
Avanti runs a fully-digital lending platform that facilitates a paperless, presence-less, and cashless lending to the unserved and the underserved segments in rural areas, he added.
Anirudh Sarda of Oikocredit said with this equity investment the company hopes to take financial inclusion to the next level as Avanti's vision and mission are aligned with our own principle of promoting sustainable development through responsible financial services.
Avanti is present in 110 districts across 15 states and is further expanding its footprint and more than 75 per cent of customers are women.
We believe technology will play a major role in enabling credit to rural and unbanked population, and Avanti is at the forefront of driving this. This is in line with our ESG considerations and mission to help enrich society, said Samir Bhandari, head of global markets sales, Asia ex-Japan at Nomura.
Avanti is also building a scalable partner ecosystem that includes social enterprises, financial institutions, business correspondents and agri-tech innovators.
Impact investor and worldwide cooperative Oikocredit has 45 years of experience in funding organisations active in financial inclusion, agriculture and renewable energy across Africa, Asia and Latin America and has far financed 563 entities, with total outstanding capital of EUR 845 million as of December 2020.