Bold Finance Raises Pre-Seed Funding From Antler India

The startup is on a mission to enable financial freedom for low and mid-income segments in India.

Bold Finance, a financial services platform for Bharat, raises pre-seed funding from Antler India. The startup is on a mission to enable financial freedom for low and mid-income segments in India.

Bold Finance’s first product, Bold Loan, is India’s first gold loan credit franchise model and aims to improve credit availability by dispensing gold loans at competitive rates through trusted neighborhood jewellers. The startup leverages existing jeweller shops for customer acquisition, gold appraisal, and loan disbursement while partnering with banks to underwrite loans and facilitate storage for gold collateral. Through leveraging existing jeweller infrastructure, bridging trust, and creating a low-cost asset-light model that enables highly competitive interest rates, Bold Loan seeks to reinvent the gold loan journey for the underserved Bharat consumer.

Mumbai-based Bold Finance is founded by ex-Mckinsey and ex-Flipkart alumni Nikhil Jain and Durgesh Suthar. Nikhil has deep domain expertise in the jeweller and gold loan industry along with experience in leading digital banking projects for top national banks at Mckinsey. Durgesh has led the engineering team at xto10x, developed SaaS products used by 200+ startups and built scalable tech systems at Flipkart. The two co-founders met at IIT Roorkee, where they started working together on multiple ideas.

At its core, Bold Loan promotes organized gold lending by solving for three key stakeholders - customers, jewellers, and banks. For the mid- to low-income consumer segment seeking gold loans, Bold Loan provides loans from trusted jewellers, with a fast turnaround time at highly competitive interest rates.

For jewellers, partnering with Bold Loan helps them augment their incomes by adding gold loans to their business. They also benefit from a structured system for customer service and loan management along with risk reduction enabled by underwriting and gold storage through banks. For banks, Bold Loan offers opportunities to extend their offering and serve an untapped, unorganized market in tier-2 and 3 cities. Nikhil Jain, co-founder at Bold Finance, says, “The majority of low and mid-income segment groups still do not have access to good customer experience in financial services, because of low ticket size and neglect from banks. Currently, 65% of the $135 billion gold loan market is unorganized and is managed by pawnbrokers, money lenders & jewellers. In the unorganized market, customers are often exploited with high-interest rates, usually upwards of 30%, and lenders bypass all regulations. This is the key challenge we are undertaking - to enable financial freedom for Bharat, starting with gold loans.”

Durgesh Suthar, co-founder at Bold Finance, added, “Some of the most important factors that affect a customer’s gold loan journey are trust on the lender, proximity of the lender, turn-around time of loan and accessibility during non-banking hours. Our unique model solves for all these aspects and allows us to expand quickly across geographies by leveraging technology and operations synergies.”

Currently, Bold Finance has a credit franchise model and has initiated its operations from the suburbs of Mumbai. It plans to scale its presence to Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh this year. The startup will utilize the pre-seed funds towards onboarding channel partners, offline branding, and operations.

“The Bold Loan model is disrupting the market in critical ways - by leveraging existing infrastructure to scale faster and deeper, by leveraging the jeweller’s credibility to build a trusted entity from Day 1, and by having an asset-light model that enables competitive interest rates. This model addresses a big gap for an overlooked segment, currently neither addressed by the traditional loans market nor by online gold loans fintech companies. Bold Finance is tackling the tough problem, through a unique lens. We are excited about backing them and their long term vision of enabling financial security and services for Bharat.”, added Rajiv Srivatsa, Partner and co-founder at Antler India.

Global early-stage VC firm Antler is one of the fastest-growing VC firms in the world and plans to deploy $100M to $150M in 100+ Indian startups over the next 3 years.

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