Indian entrepreneur turned investor, Alok Mittal, has once again plunged into the sea of entrepreneurship with his new startup Indifi Technologies Pvt Ltd., a platform for SME funding in India. The company aims to solve credit access issues for small business while providing a zero operating cost model for lenders, through automated data collection, processing and analysis.
Gurgaon-based Indifi was started by Alok Mittal (CEO), Siddharth Mahanot (COO) and Sundeep Sahi (CTO). Alok is an angel investor and former India chief of venture capital firm Canaan Partners. The startup has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Accel Partners and Elevar Equity.
The other investors including Pramod Bhasin (founder and former CEO of Genpact), Rajan Anandan (vice president & managing director, Google, South East Asia & India), Gaurav Dalmia, Abhishek Goyal, Gagan Hasteer and Arun Tadanki also participated in the round.
The startup takes a segment specific approach, where in the product design and data models are designed with deep understanding of needs a segment. Lending products in any given segment are integrated with the business cash flows and transactional linkages in that segment. Currently, Indifi is live in three business segments across travel, transportation and retail sectors.
The company’s business model revolves around a fee for services provided to lenders – from marketing, to data collection and analysis, and on-ground documentation and verification. It also assists institutions in monitoring the possible risk by analyzing transactions undertaken by such borrowers over the life of the loan. The startup already works with two financial institutions who lend through the Indifi platform.
Prior to starting Indifi, Alok setup and ran Canaan Partners’ operations in India, investing in technology and internet startups. Earlier, he co-founded JobsAhead.com, a web-based recruitment business in India, which was acquired by Monster.com, an online recruitment firm.
Speaking on the launch, Alok Mittal said – “MSMEs contribute to nearly 38% of the country’s GDP, but at the same time, suffer from $380B formal debt financing gap….we seek to improve access, reduce the overall credit operations cost by 50-60%, and enable disbursements within a mere 4 days from application.”
A lot of companies are now coming up with a similar business model with the proliferation of the entrepreneurship culture and the challenges businesses face to raise funding, especially tech driven businesses which operate on low or no revenues indefinitely and need more funds to scale quickly.
In November 2014, a similar platform called SMEcorner was launched to address the debt financing gap in the SME sector. LetsVenture is another online platform where investors can discover startups and invest in them. As the ecosystem continues to evolve, one can expect to see more such ventures.