Written by Jubin Mehta
Capital Float is a digital finance company that provides working capital loans to underserved small business in India via a technology-led loan origination and credit underwriting platform. The Bangalore based company today announced that it has raised $13 Million in Series A financing to support the company’s rapid growth. The round was led by SAIF Partners and Sequoia Capital, with participation from existing investor Aspada.
Founded in 2013, Capital Float has created a proprietary technology platform to evaluate the financial health of SMEs and efficiently deliver working capital to a segment that is underserved by traditional banks. Businesses can apply online and get funds in less than 7 days (see how it works). The company currently lends to e-commerce merchants, small manufacturers, and B2B service providers across major cities. The company has been founded by Stanford MBAs Sashank Rishyasringa and Gaurav Hinduja and is a registered Non-Banking Finance Company (NBFC). Along with the headquarter in Bangalore, Capital Float has offices in New Delhi and Mumbai.
To date, the Capital Float platform has delivered nearly Rs. 40 Crore in loans to SMEs across 10+ cities in India. The company claims to have achieved record results in 2014 and saw a 10x increase in online applications, particularly in the e-commerce market where it has partnered with leading marketplaces such as Snapdeal, Flipkart, Amazon, PayTM and Myntra to finance small merchants selling online.
This round of funding will help expand Capital Float’s technology, enabling it to scale up nationally and launch new loan products. The company had raised a $4 Million seed round in mid-2014 from Aspada and SAIF, bringing the total capital raised thus far to Rs. 100 Crore in this fiscal.
“We started Capital Float with the belief that technology and data would be the key drivers in cracking SME financing in India,” said co-founders Gaurav Hinduja and Sashank Rishyasringa. “Over the past year, we’ve focused on building the platform to deliver what our customers want above all else – flexible and ultra-convenient access to finance that can scale with their business. By leveraging alternative data in our underwriting model, we are increasingly able to not only make faster decisions but also lend to emerging business models. We are very excited to partner with SAIF, Sequoia, and Aspada, and truly believe that we now have a world-class set of investors to propel us towards this vision.”
News piece sourced from YourStory. Read the full piece here.
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Having got off to a good start, a business typically aims to grow and explore new opportunities. To make this happen, businesses need to move in the right direction. This is especially true for a business in its early days when managing operations efficiently is a challenge, thereby taking precedence over matters of strategic importance such as goal-setting and business development. One way by which you can change gears from the routine rigmarole is making a #BizResolution. These are exactly like making New Year Resolutions, except that these will help you boost business growth in your enterprise.
A business resolution is like a promise or commitment you make to achieve specific objectives in the coming year. Since it involves your enterprise, the level of commitment to making it happen is high.
Here are 5 ways business resolutions can help drive growth in your business. Business resolutions can help:
Set realistic goals: While your company is being steered by a sound business plan, it is critical to break down broad business objectives into achievable goals. So, while your plan projects a specified growth rate, you need to identify smaller goals that will lead to this result. For instance, your #BizResolution could be to “improve relationship with suppliers,” which will have a positive effect on inventory, product availability, and therefore customer satisfaction and higher sales.
Drive business strategy: It is common for new entrepreneurs to get lost in the operational hassles and simply not have the bandwidth to focus on more value adding tasks such as digital marketing or human resources. The urgent matters take precedence over what’s important, and the business slows down for want of strategic inputs. In this case, a #BizResolution can pinpoint to strategic focus areas, thereby helping realign the business priorities for growth.
Upgrade skills: Running a successful business is a constant learning process, which involves learning from competition, adopting best practices, upgrading skills and so on. This is a must in today’s rapidly changing environment, which demands that companies constantly innovate. Yet, somewhere in this quest for efficiency, the learning element takes a backseat. Having a skillset-oriented business resolution can help foster a culture of continuous learning and skill upgradation.
Focus on expansion: A high-growth focus is what most investors look for before investing in a new business. To expand, you need capital for which enterprises usually need investors or lenders. Hence, you must assess the potential for new markets, new partnerships, complimentary product categories (upselling and cross-selling), new channels (online), and new customer segments. Making such growth-centric business resolutions will keep you firmly on the road to expansion and success.
Develop a niche product: A niche product builds on the premise that certain small market segments are typically underserved. Find your blue ocean strategy and explore a better chance to grow. Make a #BizResolution to invest time and effort into a promising, niche product, which allows you to differentiate your offerings and create an uncontested market space.
Business resolutions need not be yearlong commitments. Periodically assess your product or solution with respect to the industry environment and change tack—set new objectives or redraft your existing ones. The idea is to stay in tune with emerging opportunities and align your company with market needs to make the most of growth prospects.
Create your #BizResolution today and share it with us to stand a chance to win exclusive prizes such as: Exclusive tickets to a T20 cricket match in your city Amazon vouchers Click here to get started.
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Oct 24, 2018
Suresh Tanwar owns a flourishing logistics, packaging, and transport business. He handles nearly all aspects of his company, from sales, marketing, operations, and customer service, to finances. Sooner or later, finance, especially the lack of working capital, tends to become a challenge. Suresh needs to invest in his growing business, like any other Small and Medium Enterprise (SME).
This scenario, common among India’s SMEs, calls for smart management of available monetary resources, ensuring that company has the required business capital to keep operations running . After all, the survival of a business is directly dependent on its ability to seize the next growth opportunity. Businesses also inevitably face situations of sudden, unforeseen expenses. If these working capital needs are not duly addressed, business operations can be affected and profit margins can drop.
Here are 7 tips for business owners like Suresh Tanwar to increase their working capital.
1. Try working capital financing
Procurement of a working capital loan through conventional banks is largely prohibitive, for several reasons. Often, small business owners have no collateral to offer against the loan being sought. This is a major reason why traditional financiers tend to reject loan applications from SMEs. Inflexible lending policies, laborious paperwork, and extremely slow disbursement times by banks also act as deterrents.
Faced with the recurring business costs, and the inability to acquire business capital via traditional bank loans and overdrafts, SMEs are quite likely to find themselves in a tight corner.
Working capital financing offers a constructive way out. An increasing number of SMEs are now opting to meet their working capital needs through lenders other than banks and traditional lending institutions. Capital Float is a digital finance company that funds small businesses. We have assisted manufacturers, B2B service providers, buyers, distributors, travel agents, and many other businesses with easy access to timely credit.
A range of custom financial products offered by Capital Float can help solve the problem of increasing working capital. Flexible, fast, friendly, and affordable, these loan offerings ensure borrowers have access to the requisite amount of business capital, right when they need it.
The B2B e-commerce segment is seeing exponential growth in India. A report suggests that the growing presence of B2B e-commerce platforms has offered SMEs access to competitive pricing and has also reduced inventory costs by 40%. This serves to ease the business’ working capital needs considerably.
SMEs have also benefitted greatly from being connected digitally with buyers and sellers through e-procurement. Elimination of middlemen and their related costs means that they earn more revenue. Besides, a digital platform offers SMEs an added advantage of being able to negotiate with a wider base of suppliers. Finally, the process of e-procurement curtails spending.
3.Proactively manage inventory
SMEs need to replenish their inventory constantly. Earlier, there was a need to hold vast amounts of stock, putting pressure on working capital. Miscommunication within departments would also lead to stockpiling and increased costs.
However, rigorous stock checks coupled with e-procurement can bring down such needless expenditure. This greatly eases the burden on working capital. Active management of inventory eliminates the need for advance buying and helps you move towards just-in-time delivery of goods. Efficient inventory management thus holds the key to increasing business capital.
4.Keep track of collections
Businesses often face issues of delayed payments from customers. A smart business manager needs to get past excuses for delayed payments. Creating accurate and timely invoices goes a long way in avoiding deferred returns. Such receivables billing also helps avoid bad debts and cash crunches. Rigorous follow-ups on billing and collections will have a positive effect on the working capital as well.
5.Keeping suppliers happy
Timely payment to suppliers helps develop better working relationships, and works wonders for the business. Besides, it enables SMEs to negotiate better deals. Not being able to pay vendors on time results in a strained working relationship, which could cause delays in deliveries and poor quality of services. Naturally, this can wreak havoc on a business as delays and operational inefficiencies eat into working capital.
Keeping suppliers happy is likely to have added benefits for SMEs in the form of discounts that largely serve to ease the need for working capital. Courtesy early payment, bulk supply and/or regular orders become easier, ensuring that business capital isn’t affected, adding that much more to the liquidity of funds.
6.Keep expenses transparent
It is no mean task to run a business smoothly, especially when it comes to managing finances and having to put aside working capital to seize the next big opportunity. Even smaller hidden expenses can have a cumulative negative impact on an enterprise’s cash flow. Making expenses more visible therefore is an intelligent way of managing finances. This includes setting clear rules in areas such as travel and accommodation, deploying necessary tools to monitor expense claims, and so on.
Running into financial troubles is a given for any enterprise, big or small. How well a cash crunch is handled depends on how much cash a business has in its kitty for unexpected expenses. A financing firm like Capital Float enables enterprises across industries with quick and easy access to funds, to tide over times like these.
A trustworthy partner will walk that extra mile with people like Suresh Tanwar, and help them fulfill their entrepreneurial dreams. Capital Float has been serving SMEs for over 3 years, providing affordable loans, anytime, anywhere, in a manner that is customized to an SME’s business needs.
Oct 24, 2018
Having a dedicated business bank account is important for business owners to effectively manage and utilise their working capital. With a simple segregation between personal and professional funds, the day-to-day transactions will be easier to track and document. It is also essential for compliance in IT returns filing and will help you to identify the correct deductions for your tax savings.
In India, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) generally use current accounts to manage their funds and to get a working capital loan. While no interest is received from these accounts, lately some banks in the private sector have started offering interest to attract more buyers for opening accounts with them. As a part of their services, the banks also provide working capital finance to their eligible customers with current accounts. However, these grants are sanctioned upon the pledging of an asset as collateral. Industrial, commercial or residential property or liquid securities have to be pledged while borrowing funds for business from a public or private sector bank.
With the availability of working capital financing solutions from digitally operating NBFCs – known as FinTech (technology) companies ¬– entrepreneurs can now have their dedicated business bank account and procure loans without pledging any collateral. These online platforms provide financial the benefits of less stringent terms and flexible repayments.
The question then is – how to choose the right bank account for business transactions? Most banks have now customised their current accounts into different sub-categories, and an enterprise can choose one based on its annual turnover and particular needs. The key expectations from such an account are:
Salary solutions for employees: You need to pay your employees on time every month, and may have to remit their remuneration through dedicated salary accounts or crossed cheques. The business bank account must make the execution of these processes simpler.
Digital banking services: In an era where all personal banking transactions can be done online, current accounts must also come with a host of online banking services. Your account must give you the flexibility of transferring funds anytime, anywhere, and of making regular payments on working capital demand loan that you may have procured from another financial institution. In addition to net banking, services such as phone banking, mobile banking and quick reverts on SMS-based queries are looked forward to as well. Mobile instant alerts on transactions must be provided by banks in the digital age.
Cheques payable at par: Your business bank account should offer the provision of personalised cheques payable at par across India. This conventional facility is good for business owners who prefer to use cheques over online banking for making payments to their employees, vendors, suppliers and to the companies that issued working capital finance to them.
Competitive foreign exchange rates: If your business operations involve buying from or selling to other countries, you will need seamless foreign exchange transactions. Choose your current account from a bank that offers competitive rates on foreign exchange rates routed through them.
Zero balance account: No business wishes to reach a point where they have zero balance in their bank account. Nevertheless, there can be tough times in the market and you may experience some strain on your finances. For emergencies, your business current account should allow you to reach zero balance even if it is for a temporary period. There should be no ‘penalty charges’ on such accounts. You can always update the balance with relentless focus and consistent efforts while working on your business objectives.
Where a zero balance account is not possible, the minimum monthly average balance (MAB) must be made affordable for SMEs. Alternatively, the penalty for non-maintenance of minimum balance must not be very high. Do not hesitate to compare business accounts of different banks on this basis. Your working capital finance provider may also be able to guide you here.
Interest rate: We had mentioned earlier that current accounts do not usually involve interest earnings. This had been the norm in the banking industry for decades. However, with an increasing competition between public and private sector banks, things have changed. All financial institutions are trying to enhance their brand image in the industry by offering products that are more attractive to prospective customers. In this race, they have started delivering interest on idle money in business accounts while also giving the flexibility of accessing the funds anytime. With interest earnings on your account, you can also speed up the payments on your working capital loan procured from any source.
Businesses do have good reasons for applying for a separate banking account, and it also proves their creditworthiness to sources of working capital loan in India. Non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and FinTech lenders can directly disburse funds into a current account.
The documents needed to open such accounts vary from bank to bank and depend on the type of business. Those investing in their start-ups are often asked to submit copies of their latest IT returns, PAN Card and ID and address proofs such as Aadhar Card or Passport copy. Partnerships, Limited Companies, Trusts, Associations and other corporations that involve more people and hire employees need extra documentation, which among other things must also include the registration deed for the business.
Further, check the fee and applicable charges on these business accounts. There may be charges for remittance facility from other banks, for the maintenance of debit cards and duplicate or ad hoc account statements.
As a FinTech lender, Capital Float disburses loans into your accounts in a duration as short as 3 days, helping you to keep going further for the consistent success of your venture. We have an array of loan products to help you work on the seamless growth of a project that you have enthusiastically nurtured.
Oct 24, 2018