India’s digital lending has been the subject of much controversy, not least due to over-predatory and opaque practices, but that co-exists with the emergence of a handful of startups hoping to apply technology to build products that are clearly understood and envisioned in a market need for fast, short-term access to capital. Today, one of these – CreditBeewhich provides direct personal loans to users, announces it has raised $80 million in a Series D funding round.
It is noteworthy that the financing comes at a time when raising capital has become more complicated due to the economic slowdown in markets around the world.The startup projects to exceed $1 billion in assets under management (AUM) in the next six to nine months; currently that figure is $492 million.
KreditBee has become popular in a market where a large number of people have no credit history. However, the startup has faced regulatory issues as the central bank recently released updates including the restriction on loading non-bank prepaid payment instruments (PPIs) using lines of credit. It also faces competition from several lending apps that are freely available in the market despite action taken by the regulatory side and companies including Google for their predatory behavior.
Azim Premji’s Premji Invest, Motilal Oswal Alternates, TPG-backed NewQuest Capital Partners and Mirae Asset Ventures – all previous lenders – invested, as did Japan’s MUFG Bank. The company said it is keeping the Series D open, meaning more may come in the round. It declined to provide further details on that front.
It also does not disclose its valuation. deal room pegged at $375 million, though a spokesperson said that figure was incorrect. KreditBee has issued loans to 6 million customers to date and said it currently has more than 2 million active loan customers.
Previously, in 2021, KreditBee raised $75 million in a Series C round. KreditBee has raised over $280 million to date. The startup said it plans to use the new money to invest in its product development, specifically to expand from unsecured personal loans to secured loans, home loans and lines of credit, and to begin work on adjacent services such as insurance, merchant side credit score reports and offers. The platform said it reaches over 400 million users across India – though it’s not clear if that’s an active customer number – and has partnerships with more than 10 financial institutions.
“The investment adds further weight to our vision to encourage financial independence through a smart digital experience, which India is today. With the current round, we look forward to expanding our suite of solutions to serve our growing customer base,” said Madhusudan E, co-founder and CEO of KreditBee, in a statement.
“KreditBee is run on the ethos of giving underserved customers easy access to financial products through tech-assisted underwriting. We are very excited to partner with KreditBee on their growth trajectory of providing financial services to millions of customers,” said Shashank Joshi, Deputy CEO and Head of Global Corporate Banking, MUFG India.
KreditBee today offers instant personal loans of up to $3,700 (3 lakhs Indian rupees), as well as loans for salaried individuals and purchases through e-commerce platforms. In addition to the longer process of applying for loans directly from banks to facilitate borrowing on its platform, KreditBee works with both non-banking financial firms (NBFCs) and banks registered with the Reserve Bank of India, including Krazybee Services, IIFL Finance, Incred Financial Services, Vivriti Capital, Northern Arc Capital, PayU Finance, Poonawalla Fincorp, Piramal Capital and Housing Finance and Cholamandalam Investment and Finance.
“KreditBee’s growth since its inception has been remarkable and has led to many innovations in consumer lending. We are confident that KreditBee will further consolidate its position as a market leader in the near future,” said Atul Gupta, a partner at Premji Invest.