“Nobody in India should be credit starved,” says Shruti Aggarwal, co-founder of Stashfin, a neo banking startup, which focuses on small ticket size loans between Rs 1,000 and Rs 10 lakh essentially helping the un-banked or the underbanked take care of sudden unforeseen needs. With a total funding of $75 million, Stashfin is now making headlines.
Launched in 2016, it has raised funds from a host of investors across the globe including China based Tencent, Hong Kong headquartered Integrated Capital, Singapore based Saison Capital and Snow Leopard Technology Ventures among others. The US based Uncorrelated Ventures and Altara Ventures from Singapore have also invested in the company.
Notwithstanding the Covid 19 pandemic and the slowdown in the economy, the Indian startup ecosystem last year raised $24.1 billion worth of equity investment.
Stashfin, in a span of just six years, has now spread into 68 cities with a a customer base of 2.5 lakh customers.
“What we offer is more a credit line — and a flexible one. Ours is an aspirational product and we want to tap those with small loan requirements, typically not entertained by big lenders,” the young Agarwal adds.
Customers typically require no guarantor though the company may seek one in case of low credit score. The credit line in many cases are sanctioned within four to five hours.
While Stashfin’s niche target audience are customers between the age 25 and 35, the company has been particularly serving the army personnel. And now it is ready to launch a woman’s card.
“This particular product is aimed at boosting women’s financial freedom, they can use this facility to launch a business or even for her personal or home needs,” she says. Positioned as a card that boosts financial inclusion for women, it will offer greater flexibility with enhanced rewards programme.
The startup ecosystem in India
In 2021, more than 30 startups in India made it to the prestigious Unicorn list—a startup with valuation of $1 billion or more and estimates suggest that about $35 billion has already been pumped into these firms.
According to Inc42, a media platform tracking Indian startups and entrepreneurs, if the current trend continues, “India will manage to get more than 100 unicorns by 2022, much earlier than the previous estimation of 2023.”
“Despite the third wave of Covid-19 pandemic looming large and slow economic recovery, venture capital (VC) investors seem to be reposing faith in the Indian start-ups ecosystem. In fact, Indian start-ups stood next only to Chinese counterparts in terms of VC funding value among the APAC countries during January to July 2021,” GlobalData, a data and analytics company noted.
Invest India added that the Indian unicorns have not only contributed to innovations, but have become important for employment generation. “Till FY 2016-17, approximately one unicorn was being added every year. Over the past four years (since FY 2017-18), this number has been increasing exponentially, with a whopping 66% Year-on-Year growth in the number of additional unicorns being added every year,” it said.