Real estate and lending have always been closely associated. What Aperture, a Los Angeles-based real estate technology and investment company, has done is integrate real estate, lending,and cryptocurrencies to create a new model for funding and investing in real estate. The Aperture Business Model Aperture was formed in the year 2016 by three co-founders: Andrew Jewett, Rudy […]
Real estate and lending have always been closely associated. What Aperture, a Los Angeles-based real estate technology and investment company, has done is integrate real estate, lending,and cryptocurrencies to create a new model for funding and investing in real estate.
The Aperture Business Model
Aperture was formed in the year 2016 by three co-founders: Andrew Jewett, Rudy Cortes, and Matt Miles to monetize the opportunity in real estate through creation of a large national fix and flip investor and lender. The company is focused on two things:
Buying residential properties to renovate and resell (“flips”) and
Making loans to other property investors (“investor loans”).
The company bridges the gap for fix-and-flip investors by offering short-term loans for fix and flip, bridge, rehabilitation, or rental purposes. The main focus are homes that do not qualify for traditional lending. The company provides a quick and convenient way to finance property to borrowers with low interest rates and reasonable up-front fees as compared to its competitors. It also helps home owners to sell their houses at best possible prices. Availability of advanced features like ACH payments, interest-only payments, certainty of close, no minimum credit score requirements and a dedicated team of underwriters are some of the core areas of competencies which differentiates Aperture from its competitors.
As a direct buyer, Aperture looks for affordably priced real estate in need of repairs. The aim is to fix it and resell to end users for profit. The company partners with local contractors to determine the scope of repairs and review the work performed.
The Technology Behind It All
The company has developed its fully integrated proprietary loan origination software (LOS) to handle property management services and reporting. The entire workflow of loans is managed through the software.
Borrowers can apply for property loans through the company’s website, which is interactive and intuitive. They are required to register on the company’s web portal and fill the information in terms of basic borrower data, property facts, and amount of loan requested. The loan process is not completely reliant on technology for the assessment of the proposal. The company will also do a manual review to perform the due diligence on a proposed loan. Aperture strives to close each project loan within a period of five to 10 working days.
The company does not focus on saturated states like California, Nevada, Florida, and Arizona. It will instead concentrate on capturing a higher quantum of deals at a higher percentage rates. This reduces its cost of acquisition per client and will also ensure higher margins.
Aperture is one of the only lenders that is also a property investor. This allows the company to provide additional benefits to borrowers by referring profitable deals to them in which the company has skin in the game. The company targets experienced investors, real estate agents, and contractors wishing to build a portfolio of two to 20 investment properties.
Fundraising Through Property Coin
Aperture is actively lending and is targeting to achieve a portfolio of $180 million in the next 12 months. Head of Loan Operations Dan Goldman helped build another originator to $55 million in monthly originations in just 15 months. The company, to date, is self-funded.
Aperture is also looking to raise $50 million through an ICO. Launching a 100% asset backed coin called Property Coin, they provide investors fractional interest in all real estate purchased by Aperture. The company has also filed a Reg D and Reg S for the purpose of fundraising. Half of the profits from the investments and loans will flow to the coin holders. The token is a way to securitize the real estate assets while giving crypto holders an opportunity to diversify into an asset-backed coin.
Trends and Future Goals
According to the founders, availability of financing to property investors has increased in the last three years. The residential investment market was previously dominated by “mom & pop” investors (who usually own less than 10 houses). On the other hand, attractive market returns and higher margins, as compared to traditional lending, are attracting institutional investors to jump into the market. These trends show that the industry is at a pivot point, and Aperture is at the right place and the right time to grab hold of this opportunity.
The company has generated 50 percent unleveraged returns on its investments. That, along with the management’s experience in real estate and loan origination industries, is a big positive. By incorporating the blockchain, the company has created an investment vehicle that will be attractive to multiple sections of the investor base. Property Coin is a safe bet for those taking their first steps into the crypto space. The coin can also be attractive to institutional players looking for a stable crypto asset in their portfolio with strong cash flows and a tangible underlying asset.
The company’s biggest competitor is Lending Home founded in 2013. Finance of America is another player in this segment and was formed in 2017 with the merger of B2R Finance and Jordan Capital Finance offering residential rehab fix-and-flip loans, single rental home loans, and blanket loans. It is also a portfolio company of the private equity giant, Blackstone.
Lima One is another strong contender, offering services to residential real estate investors with a funding period of 15 to 45 days. The company was formed in 2010 and has funded over $200 million with more than 720 residential deals up through 2017.
The Aperture Founding Team
All three founders were part of the senior management team at Wedgewood, one of the largest fix-and-flip investors in the US. Jewett and Miles were co-heads of the capital markets division. Both also worked previously at RBS Securities. Cortes was the head of fix-and-flip operations at Wedgewood and has previous experience at Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services, Inc.
Aperture combines the best of marketplace lending with traditional real estate and asset-backed cryptocurrency to provide opportunities for investors interested in diversification and building a strong real estate portfolio.
News Comments Today’s main news: Square makes big move on banking. Folk2Folk CEO to step down. ZhongAn approved for $1B Hong Kong IPO. KBRA and DBRS assigns preliminary ratings to SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2017-5. Assetz Capital to set up in Belfast. ZhongAn approved for $1B Hong Kong IPO. Citi Singapore launches Facebook Messenger banking chatbot. Today’s main analysis: Using digital assets to […]
Square wants to be a bank, sort of. AT: “This story goes into a bit more depth than most, and makes an interesting observation: Square likely will not be the last fintech to apply for a bank license. I hope not.”
Introducing Petal — the no-fee credit card. AT: “Medium appears to be the platform of choice for alternative lenders to make announcements they want the world to know. I wonder why. But on another note, I wonder if a person is disqualified from Petal if they have a stellar credit history.”
Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to three classes of notes issued by SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2017-5 (“SCLP 2017-5”). This is a $527.12 million consumer loan ABS transaction.
Preliminary Ratings Assigned: SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2017-5
According to WSJ reports, Square intends to submit an application later today (Sept. 7) to form a wholly owned and operated bank in Utah.
That business unit would be called Square Financial Services Inc. — and it would be designed to offer loans and deposit accounts to small businesses. The bank would be capitalized with around $56 million in cash.
Online lender SoFi made a similar move, as did mobile banking start-up Varo Money Inc. The timing is not quite a surprise — federal regulators have been more open to the idea of new banks recently than they have been at any time since the Great Recession.
Mobile point-of-sale pioneer Square Inc. is applying for an Industrial Loan Company (ILC) charter to support the expansion of its lending business, the volume of which grew 123 percent year-over-year in the second quarter to $189 million.
The news was met with immediate rancor by at least one community banking group, which also lodged complaints about blurring the lines between commerce and banking when online lender SoFI applied for the same charter in June.
Before Square made its move, the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) wrote in an August blog post that it would fight “tooth and nail” against attempts to remove the “historic separation of banking and commerce in federal law and regulation.” It reiterated that sentiment in news reports about Square’s plans on Sept. 7.
For more than a decade, CFSI has been conducting research and bringing various stakeholders—industry, regulators, consumer advocates—together around using technology to increase access to financial services. Its 2016 research estimates the size of the financially underserved market in the U.S. to be $140.7 billion.
The Dodd-Frank Act had placed a moratorium on such charters that ended in 2013, but the FDIC has been “gun-shy” since Walmart’s failed attempt to secure an ILC charter in 2006, Moeser notes.
Affirm was started by PayPal wunderkind Max Levchin – Through a simple online application process, Affirm customers can obtain loan financing with interest rates in the range of 10% to 30% for their desired online purchases. Customers can clearly and easily see what they will owe at the time of checkout online, with no hidden costs or surprises.
Walmart is involved – All indications are that Walmart is aggressively going after scan-and-go/checkout-free shopping in their stores. Scan-and-go quite possibly will be the technology that most impacts physical retail in the next 10-15 years.
Affirm and Walmart are a match made in heaven for budget conscious America – Affirm’s digital financing capabilities and Walmart’s scan-and-go capabilities, when combined, will stretch the bank accounts of all Americans — especially Americans who cannot afford Prime membership fees (uh oh Amazon).
A screen pops up, and what used to be a three-pack of Crest for $5.00 is now suddenly the same three-pack but for $0.83/month for six months, or for $0.42/month for 12 months instead.
Lima One Capital, the premier lender for residential real estate investors, announced today that it has acquired the residential debt origination business of RealtyShares, an online marketplace for real estate investing and financing.
Lima One Capital began partnering with RealtyShares as an institutional investor in early 2017, drawn by the quality of deals listed on the marketplace platform.
A New York start-up aims to use everyday financial information to qualify people with scant or no credit histories for its credit cards.
The company, called Petal, considers an applicant’s standard credit scores, when available. But it also analyzes their digital financial records, like checking accounts or, in some cases, prepaid debit cards, to rapidly assess their income and spending habits.
The company plans to target consumers who are “new to credit,” like young adults, recent immigrants and lower-income consumers, as well as others who may lack traditional credit scores, Mr. Gross said.
The idea is that by sharing information about their personal cash flow, consumers can get a quick decision on a card application and access to a low-cost card, even if they don’t fit the traditional profile of a top-tier credit customer.
The company’s Petal Visa card isn’t widely available yet, but is being tested privately starting this month. Consumers can sign up online to receive an invitation to apply.
You need one to get a credit card, finance a car, purchase a home, or qualify for a small business loan. And, increasingly, you need credit to do things that seem to have little to do with credit, like sign a lease for an apartment, set up a cell phone plan, or even get a job — nearly 50% of employers today are checking credit reports as part of a job application.¹
That access is important. The cost of a poor credit score can be as much as $250,000 in additional interest and fees over the course of your lifetime.²
The number of American adults that lack access to credit because they are new to credit is staggering:
Over 65 million, and growing as a percentage of the total population.³
The 65 million credit invisible, unscorable and thin-file consumers in the U.S. are not a snapshot of America. They are disproportionately likely to be young, black and Hispanic, first- and second-generation immigrant, and/or low- and moderate-income. The same groups that have been historically underserved by the banking system are routinely denied access and opportunity because of how the credit system works.
Two years later, we’re launching Petal — a simple, no-fee credit card, designed to make life easier for everyone.
Petal makes money from merchants when customers swipe the card, and on interest when customers carry a balance past their due date. And before customers carry a balance, we show them exactly what it will cost — in dollars, not just in interest rates and APRs. It’s our belief that customers should be able to use credit safely and affordably, without falling into costly debt.
Social Finance, Inc., a fintech and student loan refinancing company, announced this week that SoFi Accelerate, the company’s career incubator, will be visiting Chicago this September.
On Sunday, September 24th, SoFi Accelerate will head to the Windy City to offer professionals a chance to hear from a couple of speakers and to develop their own path for career success.
The career incubator will only last one day and is open to SoFi members and non-members as well. There will be two speakers, Adam Foss and Ryan Holiday, that guests will have the chance to listen to.
The event will be held at the Chicago Botanic Garden at 1000 Lake Cook Road in Glencoe, Illinois from 9:30 AM to 6:00 PM central time. For SoFi members, the price of admittance will be $75, while non-members will have to pay $125 upon entry. However, the first 50 non-members will receive a special discount so that they only have to pay $100 to attend.
In some states, buying lottery tickets is an extremely popular pastime that borders on obsession. The U.S. generated $66.78 billion from lottery sales with the exception of seven states who have not legalized lotteries — Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming — based on an analysis of data conducted by LendEDU, a Hoboken, N.J.-based student loan marketplace, utilizing 2015 data released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Out of the total amount, $42.27 billion was allocated for prizes, $3.18 billion was allocated for administration and $21.35 billion was allocated for proceeds.
For 2016, the Census Bureau projected there were $323 million people living in the U.S. which means the average amount spent on various types of lottery tickets is $206.69 per year, LendEdu said.
Some residents are diehard fans of playing the lottery, and Massachusetts natives spend the most money per capita at $734.85 annually while Rhode Island follows a close second at $513.75 each year. The third highest amount was spent in Delaware at $420.82, New York with $398.77 and West Virginia at $359.78.
The states with the largest amount of people generated the largest revenue – New York’s total was $7.78 billion, followed by California at $5.52 billion, Florida at $5.27 billion, Massachusetts at $5.01 billion and Texas at $4.28 billion.
Together, the three brands are actively working on products that will premiere as part of Bestow’s full stack, digital platform later this fall. Upon launch, the platform will give consumers an entirely new way to research, buy, and manage life insurance with product options that are affordable, simple to understand, and seamless to purchase.
Bestow’s partnership with Munich Re and North American follows the company’s recent announcement of closing $2.5 million in seed funding, led by NEA.
You probably don’t think of relatively small investments and passive income opportunities when talking about commercial real estate. But the new standards for commercial real estate investing are surprisingly simple and potentially profitable. Here’s what Jilliene Helman shared about the industry-disrupting platform.
Platforms like RealtyMogul let you crowdfund multi-million dollar commercial real estate investments with as little as $1,000 to $5,000. Depending on your cash flow, you can make an investment immediately and continue reinvesting the profits.
Anyone who has ever been a landlord knows that dealing with tenants and all the hands-on work that comes with it is cumbersome. But commercial real estate can be a completely passive opportunity that doesn’t require you to do anything. Jilliene agrees that you don’t need to be active in all of your investments.
Jilliene shares that in RealtyMogul’s case, they’ve now gone through 12 months at 8% distribution annualized. While some investors might take that distribution and spend it, others will take that 8% and keep reinvesting it to turn it into a compounding investment. In the second month of a payout, investors will be earning on that original 8% in addition to interest earned each subsequent month of distribution.
“About four to five years ago, I worked for OnDeck Capital in Manhattan,” said Rowe, referring to a non-bank lender to small businesses, where he was a senior business development manager. “Back in 2008, when we had the market correction, banks stopped lending and small-business owners had nowhere to go to get funds. OnDeck, at the time, filled that gap.”
In 2013, Rowe in Southport launched BitX Funding as an online marketplace for small-business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs to seek financing for their endeavors.
BitX Funding works with a borrower in fill out data on the company regarding how much money they want to borrow, the time frame they are working in to receive their funds and how long they have been in business. Rowe reviews the information and contacts the applicant to receive more information about the depth and scope of the requested loan. The BitX founder Rowe, who is now working with 20 banks as his company’s financing outlets, determines which applicants have the best chance of moving forward.
To date, Rowe has secured 100 small-business loans for clients. Applicants do not pay him a fee or a commission for the service, he noted, with his revenue coming from the participating lenders.
“I’m actually pre-underwriting the applications. Because of Dodd-Frank and all of the other regulations and paying an underwriter a $100,000 salary for a $50,000 loan, it’s not really in their (lending banks’) wheelhouse.”
Securrency, a RegTech company with a platform designed to streamline regulatory compliance for token offerings, has just signed an extensive strategic partnership with Humaniq, an Ethereum-based Blockchain ecosystem looking to bring financial inclusion to over 2 billion unbanked people globally.
The partnership included an investment into Securrency by Humaniq as the lead investor of their current investment round. Humaniq will also provide additional technological capabilities which will be used for their collective efforts on a LegalTech platform. This LegalTech platform is designed to efficiently match capital to opportunity in transformational emerging technologies. The platform will provide efficient access to capital for startups, liquidity for frontier markets, and a scalable securitization process for established global industries. By automating certain compliance functions and connecting legacy financial services to the power of the blockchain, the team sees a path to revolutionize technology finance.
Baton Systems (“Baton”, formerly known as Ubixi), the platform for clearing, settling and managing payments between financial institutions, has appointed former Citigroup Vice Chairman Lewis B. Kaden to its Advisory Board.
He joins Arjun Malhotra, Co-Founder of HCL Technologies and Headstrong, as the newest addition to Baton’s Advisory Board.
Kaden was labeled “The Most Powerful Banker You’ve Never Heard of” by Bloomberg Businessweek in 2009. He joined Citigroup in 2005, where he oversaw the bank’s global functions and advised the CEO on numerous strategic and business matters. Kaden has also served as Chairman of the United States Government Overseas Presence Advisory Panel, as well as Chairman of the Industrial Cooperation Council of the State of New York and Governor Mario Cuomo’s Commission on Competitiveness. He holds degrees from both Harvard College and Harvard Law School.
Home Point Financial Corporation (“Home Point”), a national, multi-channel mortgage originator and servicer, today announced that Ross Gloudeman has been named Chief Compliance Officer.
Prior to joining the Home Point team, he was a Principal at AIMD Consulting, LLC, providing advisory and contract risk or compliance expertise to financial services clients. Previously, he was Senior Vice President, Executive Risk and Compliance Officer, at Walter Investment Management Corp.
Peer-to-peer lending platform Folk2Folk has announced the resignation of its chief executive officer Jane Dumeresque (pictured above), who will step down during September.
During her tenure, Folk2Folk opened new regional offices in Yorkshire, Somerset and the Three Counties, built further representation in Cumbria, Dorset, Cheshire and East Anglia and grew the platform’s cumulative loan book from £30m to over £170m.
But in the past year we’ve seen a steady rise in the quality of these bonds, partly because reputable alternative asset managers have moved in with asset-backed propositions (ie, companies that own physical assets, providing a certain amount of security for lenders). Downing, for instance, has its own “crowd bond” business that provides debt capital to businesses, usually within an Innovative Finance Individual Savings Account wrapper. Currently Downing has two projects that allow instant access (ie, no maturity), paying a 3% yield on an energy-backed business. This is a bit on the low side, but Downing also advertises an imminent bond that involves lending to a pub business for 18 months at 5.5%.
Property lender LendInvest raised £50m when it issued the alternative finance sector’s first retail bond, paying 5.25% a year over five years. The bond issue was oversubscribed, and the bonds now trade at £102 (implying a net yield to maturity of just over 5% a year).
In the news…
• Peer-to-peer lender RateSetter has reignited the debate about transparency after it admitted placing loans via rival platforms without telling its customers, reports The Times. It placed around £10m in property development loans on Wellesley, and an unspecified sum via Archover, which lends to small businesses. Both Wellesley and Archover offer investors a higher return than RateSetter. A spokesman for RateSetter said it would not lend via either platform again. RateSetter withdrew from industry body the P2P Finance Association last month after admitting it had “breached the principles of the Association”, but stressed that “no customer has experienced any loss from our actions”.
The UK’s ambitious fintech startups are eyeing success on the public markets with a third of them planning an IPO in the next five years, new figures reveal.
Transferwise, Revolut and World Remit are among the country’s innovative financial technology companies with long-term ambitions of going public, signalling the burgeoning industry’s confidence.
Of the 250 fintechs surveyed in fresh research from EY and Innovate Finance on behalf of HM Treasury measuring the health of the industry, more than half also said they expect revenue to more than double over the next 12 months. Collectively, they expect to raise more than £2.5bn in their next funding rounds, having already raised £3.5bn to date.
Digital challenger bank Revolut told City A.M. it has an ambition to go public “later down the line”, while co-founder of “unicorn” startup Transferwise Taavet Hinrikus said over the summer it was time to think seriously about becoming a public company “in a few years”.
Ledgermark Ltd develops, markets and issues distributed ledger technology, specifically; various forms and implementations of distributed ledgers that can be used in combination with technologies like Bitcoin.
The company is launching a new digital asset; Meridian (MDN). Meridian represents a fork in the road as it is different from traditional digital assets. Instead of being positioned as a bitcoin alternative, Meridian is being designed to be used in combination with bitcoin. In short, via their Bitcoin Loans Platform, Ledgermark Ltd will be accepting Meridian tokens as collateral for bitcoin loans of higher value.
ZhongAn Online Property and Casualty Insurance Co Ltd, China’s first internet-only insurer, secured Hong Kong stock exchange approval for its planned initial public offering which could raise more than $1 billion, sources with direct knowledge of the deal said on Friday.
The company plans to start gauging investor appetite for the IPO as soon as Monday after receiving the nod from the listing committee of the Hong Kong stock exchange, added the sources. It plans to launch the IPO and take orders from investors on Sept. 18.
The IPO would be the biggest by a financial technology company (fintech) in the city, which wants to lure more new listings of so-called new economy startups. Hong Kong has had $5.73 billion worth of new listings so far in 2017, compared with $21.3 billion in all of 2016, Thomson Reuters data showed.
Chinese fintech solutions firm Sino Fortune Holding Corp has acquired a 4.45 per cent stake in Shenzhen TouZhiJia Financial Information Service Co Ltd (TouZhiJia) for about $2.8 million (RMB19.1 million).
Sino Fortune is making the 4.45 per cent equity interest acquisition through Puhui Equity Investment Co Ltd (Puhui).
Founded in September 2014, TouZhiJia’s main businesses include vertical P2P search engine, private wealth management, and secondary loan exchange services.
TouZhiJia has reportedly accumulated 2.74 million registered users and facilitated 1.98 million transactions with aggregate transaction value of more than $2.30 billion (RMB 15.63 billion). TouZhiJia is an affiliate of Yingcan Group.
The full agenda is on the LendIt website, but here are a few topics I am most excited about:
How to Navigate Open Banking (Imran Gulamhuseinwala, Ernst & Young)
Digitization of Finance How Customer Expectations are Changing (Anne Boden, Starling Bank, Rhydian Lewis, Ratesetter Giovanni Daprà, Moneyfarm)
Implementing AI in Financial Services: Case Study (Francesco Brenna, IBM, Roberto Mancone, Deutsche Bank)
How Big Banks Are Approaching the New Connected World (Gilad Amir, Lloyds Banking Group, Benoit Legrand, ING, Raman Bhatia, HSBC, Gustavo Vinacua, BBVA)
Renaud Laplanche of Upgrade talking about Online Lending 2.0 and the state of the US fintech market.
Summer pricing of £1,295 ends at midnight on September 8th. After that, ticket prices will rise to £1,495. As always Lend Academy readers can receive an additional 15% discount by using the code LENDACADEMYVIP at checkout.
By the way, the alternative funding market in Europe is not just a developed one, but it is often supported by the state in every way. Moreover, crowdlending currently is a major competitor for the conventional banking area. In the future, it will consolidate its position because, due to introducing new Basel lll requirements to banks, including a reduction of risk assets, the requirements to bank lenders will become ever more stringent.
For instance, in 2015, Austria adopted an act that governs and legalizes the operation of companies involved in non-banking lending. But at the same time, in the biggest fintech country in Eastern Europe – Russia – and in several EU countries, there is yet no such document. Germany has a credit rating of companies that protect the investor.
What kinds of non-banking business lending platforms exist?
According to data of KPMG studies, the last 3 years period demonstrated a 131% growth of the share of mutual business lending, with the share of peer-to-peer consumer lending having increased merely by 54%.
Crowdfunding– investments for a remuneration from a company.
Crowdlending– this is mutual business lending assuming a return on investments (Funding Circle).
Crowdinvesting – an investor receives a share in a company with a view to growth of the value of one’s purchased share and, certainly, receiving dividends from company operations (Crowdcube, Seedmatch).
Refinancing receivables or online factoring. A loan is provided on collateral in the form of expected payments or accounts receivable.
Invoice discounting – this is in essence factoring, but with a somewhat other funding structure. Within its framework, funding is not split into deliveries but is paid in full on spot. In case of assignment of claims, the lender will bear the obligations of reimbursing the factor the funds underpaid by the borrower.
Summary of Event: This forum aims to “introduce new forms of financial services” while covering topics including equity-based crowdfunding, social impact bonds, online lenders to small businesses and peer-to-peer lending platforms. The event has support from the European Union and its European Investment Bank Institute.
Experian, an information services group, estimates that the average error rate of bank account data is around 12.7%, indicating that there is a lack of understanding of foreign bank codes and account numbers.
A key problem with cross-border payments today is the fact that transactions are at the mercy of correspondent banking relationships.
Ripple, a global digital payment provider, has designed its XRP digital asset solely the cross-border transfer of value between enterprises.
Aside from Ripple, other companies have started to look at the usage of digital assets for transactions. Visa for instance recently filed a patent with United States Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) on the creation of a digital asset network to eliminate third parties and simply their transaction process.
One popular recent development in the Blockchain community is the creation of multi-crypto/fiat debit cards. These cards allow users to interchange between the given set of currencies in a seamless manner.
Luhaaar notes that fintech companies have consistently delivered better results in individual financial system services. He says that Change Bank wants to bring these companies together to create a global fintech bank of tomorrow.
In an exclusive interaction with CXOToday, Rohan Angrish, CTO, Capital Float, takes us through how they have made it possible with the aid of technology which helped reduce wait times for SMEs, and enabled disbursement of funds in just three days. Last month, the company announced an equity raise of $45 Million (Rs. 293 crores) in Series C funding.
CXOToday: Tell us about your expansion plans across India. Any plans to go global in the near future?
Angrish: Over the past year alone, we have disbursed loans of over Rs. 2,100 crores to 12,000 plus customers across 300 cities. We will continue to identify and serve under-served SME segments. We have also ventured into financing micro-entrepreneurs like taxi drivers, travel agents, and Kirana store owners. Although these are small-ticket loans, the sheer size of these segments indicates immense potential. India will keep us busy for the short term. By the end of the financial year, we expect to have our geographic footprint spread across 500 cities from our current number of 300 cities, without increasing headcount.
CXOToday: Who are your customers?
Angrish: These include SMEs who have traditionally been denied finance due to ineligibility based on credit parameters set by formal financiers, lack of collateral and inability to furnish the required documentation.
CXOToday: Please throw light on your corporate partnerships.
Angrish: The company has partnered with ecosystem leaders across various verticals such as e-commerce (Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, PayTM, Shopclues, eBay, Alibaba, etc.), travel and hospitality (VIA and Yatra), retail (Mswipe, Pine Labs, Bijlipay, ICICI Merchant Services) and taxi aggregators (UBER and Ola) etc. Through these partnerships, we are able to effectively expand our reach to SMEs operating on these platforms.
Fintech startup EarlySalary, which offers instant cash loans and salary advances, has raised debt financing of Rs 5 crore from IFMR Capital. Previously, this past May, the company had raised a Series A round of $4 million (Rs 28 crore) in equity funding from IDG Ventures India and DHFL and plans to leverage its equity multiple times over the next few months.
In an earlier interaction with YourStory, Co-founder and CEO Akshay Mehrotra had said that almost 75 percent of the Rs 28 crore would be utilised for building their lending book. The remaining amount was to go into expanding their team, with a specific focus on machine learning skill sets, and helping grow the customer base.
EarlySalary has already disbursed more than 7,000 loans last month. Currently operating in eight cities including Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, New Delhi, Jaipur, and Ahmedabad, it is looking at expanding into other cities as well.
Online lender Capital Float attracted $45 million, while Treebo Hotels took $34 million. Bioinformatics company MedGenome attracted $30 million from investors led by Sequoia India and fitness chain operator Curefit raised $25 million from existing investors including Accel Partners and IDG Ventures.
With seed funding becoming more challenging, early stage investors are asking questions on whether the business is viable and if it can raise follow on capital, which is an indication of the market maturing, he adds.
Citi Singapore today announced the launch of Citi Bot – the bank’s new natural language chatbot on Facebook Messenger. Singapore is the first market for the launch of the chatbot which will be introduced progressively in the Asia Pacific region over the next few months.
This landmark initiative furthers Citi’s open architecture approach to digital banking as the bank taps on its global network to form strategic partnerships and to co-create with leading players in digital ecosystems globally and locally.
Citi Bot will first be made available to some 600 Citi customers and employees who will form Citi Singapore’s Beta Testing Community, referred to as the Citi Beta Community.
The second phase of the Citi Bot will introduce more new features such as card activation, ability to lock and unlock credit cards and transaction alerts for cards among others.
Asia-Pacific now leads the way in the adoption of mobile payments, according to a report by ACI Worldwide (ACI) entitled “Global Consumer Survey and Consumer Trust and Security Perceptions.”
Within the Asia, India and Indonesia saw the biggest growth of mobile wallet use with 56% of Indian and 47% Indonesian participants of saying that they used mobile wallets. This represents a significant increase from 2014 results which saw 47% of Indian and 32% of Indonesian survey participants using mobile wallets.