KreditBee, which offers personal loans and loans for consumer products, raises $75M Series C from Azim Premji's PremjiInvest and others (Ashwin Manikandan/The Economic Times)

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Digital lending startup KreditBee has secured an investment of $75 million (Rs 544 crore) in a Series C round which saw participation of Azim Premji’s PremjiInvest and South Korea’s Mirae Asset Venture.

The equity round also saw participation of US-based Alpine Capital and Arkam Ventures at an undisclosed amount, the company said in a statement shared with ET.

The deal was a mix of primary and secondary transactions, where its existing China-backed investors either partially or completely made an exit from the company.

With this round, KreditBee’s parent company, Finnov, has cut its backing by China-based investors to about 10% from the earlier 40%, a person aware of the matter said.

Notably, Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi – an existing investor in the company – has now made a complete exit. Other investors from the Asian neighbour including Shunwei Capital and Kunlun reduced their holding in the company, the person said, without divulging specifics.

Finnov, registered in March 2016, also holds Krazybee, a non-banking financial company (NBFC). The group launched KreditBee in May 2018, focused on full-stack digital lending for young professionals.

The platform specialises in personal loans and consumer durable loans up to Rs 2 lakh with tenures ranging from 2 months to 15 months.

In its previous rounds, the company raised $8 million from Shunwei and Xiaomi in 2017. It also raised $43 million in equity from ICICI Bank and Arkam Ventures in its Series B round.

With the newly raised capital, the lender will now aim to expand its borrower base.

“With a larger portfolio of loan products, our objective is to provide credit to over 180 million new-to-credit (NTC) customers who were not provided formal credit earlier,” KreditBee chief executive Madhusudan E said in the statement.

“This investment would help us take more positive steps towards achieving that,” he added.

The move comes at a time when escalating Sino-India geopolitical tensions and alleged malpractices of several short-tenure loan apps in this space have led to a crackdown by Indian regulators on money lending apps backed by Chinese investors.

Google recently took down more than 150 loan apps from its Play Store on the direction of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the Reserve Bank of India.

According to Atul Gupta, partner at Premji Invest, the capital infusion is largely aimed at formalising credit delivery in India.

“We are impressed by the vision of KreditBee to formalise the path towards credit enablement for new-to-credit customers, their skilled team and responsible tech-enabled underwriting, and are pleased to partner with them in their next stage of growth,” Gupta said in the statement.

Ashish Dave, the chief executive at Mirae Asset Venture Investments (India), said KreditBee’s strength is also in its ability to underwrite new loans.

“The large scale at which the platform is able to disburse loans to customers showcases not just the stability and strength of its tech stack, but also a very appropriate credit scoring of customers using alternative data points, which forms a key for new-to-credit customers,” said Dave.

The company currently has more than 1,200 employees and a user base of over 20 million, it said. The platform plans to diversify its product offering by venturing into digitally enabled secured loans and insurance.

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This content was originally published HERE

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