Bangalore-based fintech startup, SmartCoin, has raised $2 million in pre-Series A funding from a top Chinese VC fund and Accion Venture Lab. Unicorn India Ventures, which is an existing investor in the company, also participated in the round, along with ISME ACE, a leading fintech accelerator.
SmartCoin lends small-to-mid-sized ticket loans to mobile users after building a SmartCoin credit score, which is backed by data science and machine learning. The company raised seed funding from Unicorn India Ventures last year.
Rohit Garg, Co-founder and CEO, SmartCoin, says, “We have seen a sharp uptick in growth over the past year and have successfully disbursed over 50,000 micro loans. More importantly, we have been able to open credit access for people who were not able to tap the formal channels and were otherwise dependent on personal networks and loan sharks. With this round, we expect to grow the momentum and further scale 10X over the next 6–12 months. Having specialists as investors, who are passionate about micro-lending, on board will only help us cover more ground not only in India but globally too.”
Accion Venture Lab is the world’s leading seed-stage investor in fintech for the underserved. Accion Venture Lab invests capital in, and provides support to, innovative fintech startups that increase access to, improve the quality of, or reduce the cost of financial services for the underserved at scale.
“SmartCoin illustrates how innovative lenders are leveraging data, mobile access, and India’s digital infrastructure to extend loan access for the financially underserved,” says Michael Schlein, President and CEO of Accion. Paarul Dudeja, Director of Investments for India, Accion Venture Lab adds, “SmartCoin exemplifies what we at Accion Venture Lab look for in a partner, with its strong entrepreneurial team that is driven by the mission of providing increased access to credit through nano lending to the underserved by using an all-digital platform to expand its reach.”
SmartCoin was started by IIT/IIM alumnus Rohit Garg, Amit Chandel, Vinay Kumar Singh, and Jayant Upadhyay in 2016, who comes with around a decade of work experience across finance and technology domains.
“We invested in SmartCoin last year as we saw an immense potential in the business. Over the course of the year, we have realized the ability of the team to scale its operations rapidly given the right ammunition. Thus, being able to raise top dollar from two of the world’s largest markets is a testament to our belief in the team,” says Archana Priyadarshini, Partner, Unicorn India Ventures. “We expect the Company to continue its growth trajectory and at Unicorn India, we believe in backing potential winners. Thus, we decided to participate in this round,” she adds.
The Company is already working with several partners for disbursing loans and has achieved strong organic growth. SmartCoin plans to further invest in technology and grow its team as it continues with its expansion plans, with an aim to cover a much larger customer base.