We want to be in 100 cities in the next 12 to 18 months: Gaurav Hinduja & Sashank Rishyasringa – Business Standard

Written by Alnoor Peermohamed

Bengaluru-based startup Capital Float, which lends to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), plans to grow its presence from 40 cities to a 100 cities in the next 12 to 18 months. While sellers on e-commerce platforms make up a large chunk of whom the company lends to, it says it will focus more on tier 2 and tier 3 businesses, which might be solely offline but have the potential to grow massively. Gaurav Hinduja and Sashank Rishyasringa, founders of Capital Floatalk to Alnoor Peermohamed in the company’s plans. Edited excerpts:

The e-commerce segment is fairly new and there’s bound to be volatility. How do you think that might impact your business?

Hinduja: E-commerce merchants are the core to what we do and it’s an important vertical, but we’ve also diversified outside.

We do loans to a lot traditional SMEs — brick and mortar, manufacturing and service type of organisations because that segment is 30-40 million, whereas e-commerce is 100-200 thousand. I think almost all sellers sell on all marketplaces. And when we underwrite the business, we look at a combination of things. Sales across marketplaces, and how does that look across his offline sales as well, because a lot of sell offline. We look at a holistic view of the business before we actually decide to give the person a loan.

Data on sellers is harder to come by in the offline world. How are you tackling that?

Rishyasringa: You’ll be surprised as to how much data is available on any business in India and that’s very much a big part of the IP we’ve built since the early days. I think what we’ve been able to do is build a lot of pipes for data sources such as Aadhaar, NSDL, and a whole host of other government and legal databases.

The borrower is also able to give us access to a lot of data that we can then use in deciding what terms and what kind of loan to give them. For example, social media is a very interesting input that we consider in our underwriting model.

On the online piece, yes there is some additional data which helps with the speed of lending. So today we give real time approvals to e-commerce sellers in 10 to 15 minutes.

What is your primary source of raising capital?

Hinduja: Like most financial institutions we obviously raise equity right, and we have raised a little over Rs 100 crore from some of the best VCs, but also we have raised debt.

What are your sort of default rates? How are you working to keep them low?

Hinduja: Ironically, a lot of the bank’s defaulters are not coming from the SME sector. They’re actually coming from large borrowers. A lot of what we do is the underwriting, through different data, and we do that to keep our credit costs, which are defaults, et cetera, really low.

Today they are very low, I’d say 80-90 per cent better than any NBFC that lends to SMEs out there. That said, it is still early days. This is a lending business at the end of the day, there are going to be defaults.

What do you think will happen when guys like Alibaba increase their focus in India? Where do you fit in?

Rishyasringa: B2B e-commerce has the potential to be far larger than B2C e-commerce in India. And we think what Alibaba has been able to achieve in China and in India with its SME base for exporters and importers is tremendous.

We are partners with Alibaba. You can infer from that, that we’re already active in the space and its part of our strategy.

How is this partnership going to work?

Hinduja: They’re going to look at us to help get more SMEs to become active Alibaba users. But at the same time a lot of their SME merchant base will require financing, whether it’s for domestic transactions, or cross border transactions. They will look at a financer that really has the speed and the agility to meet the SMEs requirements in that sense.

What are your growth plans?

Hinduja: We want to be in 100 cities in the next 12 to 18 months and obviously a lot of that growth is going to come from tier 2 and tier 3 towns. Because banks really don’t have a presence there.

While people and SMEs in the top 8-10 cities can still access a bank branch, bank branch penetration in those tier 2 tier 3 towns is almost negligible. I think that’s where we’ll see a lot of growth and through the make in India and e-commerce stuff you’ll see a lot of business growth in those cities as well.

What sort of regulatory hurdles do you see yourselves having to cross?

Rishyasringa: Actually in the financial services space I think we’ve got a very proactive regulator and what you’re seeing in these payment banks, small finance banks, e-KYC, I think these are all steps in the right direction and we obviously hope that we continue to see these steps.

News piece sourced from Business Standard. Read the full piece here.

More Related Posts

Card image cap
Unsecured Loans – Is It The Right Option to Grow Your Business?

Achieving growth is a dream for every business, more so if it is a small or medium enterprise. Who doesn’t like expanding their production and also the revenue of their business? While business expansion is necessary, one thing which is primarily required for business growth is finance (with acumen being the second important ingredient). How does one secure business finance?

Banks and financial institutions provide the solution – business loans.

Business loans are the perfect solutions to financing which enables business growth. Banks and financial institutions lend the much-required business finance in India to business enterprises. This finance comes in two variants – secured loans and unsecured loans. Do you know what they are and how they are different?

Secured business loans

Secured business loans are also called asset-backed loans. These loans are granted on the value of an asset which is pledged as collateral for the loan. These loans are risk-free from the lender’s perspective as in the case of default by the borrower, the asset which is pledged is possessed by the bank to fulfill the loan liability.

Unsecured business loans

Unsecured loans, on the contrary, do not require any collateral or security. The loan is granted on the repayment capacity of the business which is indicated by the enterprise’s creditworthiness. These loans are granted as short-term loans which also have short repayment tenure.

Difference between the two

Both secured and unsecured business loans are fundamentally different and their differences are as follows:

 Secured Loans  Unsecured Loans
They require a security against the value of the loan  These loans are granted without the requirement of any collateral
The interest rate is low  Interest rate is high
The amount of loan depends on the value of the asset pledged for the loan The amount of loan depends on the repayment capacity and creditworthiness of the enterprise

Do unsecured loans help in business growth?

Unsecured loans are very easily available and do not require any collateral. They thus have various advantages which make them an ideal solution for quick financing. But do such loans also enable business growth? Let’s find out:

No asset backing required

Secured loans are limiting in the sense that they require business assets to be pledged as collateral. Unsecured loans are easily available and they do not require any business assets to be secured. As such these loans are not restricting. If your business is small and does not have many assets, it becomes a problem to avail a secured loan. This hinders the growth of business. Unsecured loans, on the other hand, can be availed without any assets.

The quantum of loan is not limited

Suppose you require a loan worth Rs.50 lakhs but the value of assets which are to be pledged is limited to Rs.40 lakhs. Would you be able to acquire the desired loan? Secured loans allow loans limited to the value of the asset pledged. Even in this case, the total value of asset is not allowed as loan as a margin is retained by the lender. So, if you have an asset worth Rs.20 lakhs and want a loan of Rs.20 lakhs, you would be able to avail only 80% to 90% of the value of your asset (Rs.20 lakhs in this case) as loan (i.e. Rs.16 lakhs or Rs.18 lakhs). In case of unsecured loans, the loan is granted on the business potential and creditworthiness and not limited by the value of any asset. Thus, businesses can avail an unsecured loan as per their requirement for aiding growth.

Easily available

Unsecured loans are easily available as the funds are sanctioned within days of the loan application being done. As such, these loans provide the necessary funding to businesses in a short span of time which can be used to increase business profitability and boost business growth. These loans come in handy when the business is poised to grow following a surge in demand. As the loan is easily available, high demand can be met by increasing production. High demand yields better revenue for the business and enables it to grow.

Ideal for young businesses

Businesses which are still in their nascent stage require funding to expand and grow. This funding can be easily secured through an unsecured loan as it does not require any collateral, which is hard to source for budding businesses. Thus, the growth of these young enterprises is dependent on unsecured business loans.

Unsecured business loans, therefore, play an important part in the growth of businesses. Though long term secured loans are essential for long-term finance, short-term unsecured loans help businesses meet their more immediate requirements, which has a direct bearing on their growth.

NBFCs offer unsecured business loans which are also called as business installment loans or term finance. This loan offers the following benefits to businesses:

1. A loan of Rs.1 lakh to Rs.1 crore can be availed by businesses for any of their requirements.
2. There are no hidden or additional charges under the loan. Applicants are required to pay only a small processing fee of 2% of the loan amount borrowed. Apart from this there are no foreclosure or part-prepayment charges incurred on the loan.
3. Certain NBFCs use customized credit criteria while underwriting customers. The credit offering is tailored as per the applicant’s requirement.
4. The loan is sanctioned within 3 days of successful application thus providing the funds at the earliest.
5. No collateral security is required for the loan.
6. Application for the loan can be done quickly through the online medium which reduces unnecessary hassles.

Unsecured loans sometimes prove to be that important source of funding without which businesses couldn’t have grown and achieved enhanced profitability. If you are also looking for a business loan for your business growth avail an unsecured loan today!

Oct 24, 2018

Card image cap
Tips to Improve Your Chances of Getting a Business Loan

Lack of adequate funds is one of the main reasons why enterprising individuals with innovative business ideas often struggle in materialising their projects. Even after a venture takes off and begins to grow, it will need extra funds at some point in its growth journey to enhance its operations and pay its suppliers. A business loan in India has been typically procured from banks, but over the past decade, though the number of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) has risen sharply, most of the SMEs who had applied for business loans remain unfinanced at large.

The gap between this demand and supply for loans is gradually being closed by new age FinTech lenders. By providing quick loans without collateral, FinTech companies are helping entrepreneurs in harnessing the full potential of their business ideas. However, the competition in this field continues to be huge, and applications for business finance are still approved based on creditworthiness.

If you are grooming your entrepreneurial venture for more success and plan to apply for business loans online, here are some tips to improve your chances of approval:

1) Create a neat business plan – You must have chalked out a business plan before foraying into a field of your interest, but if there are no formal documents in its support, it is important to prepare them. A formal business plan must include the objective of the project, the way it plans to earn revenue, the development strategy and the marketing methodology. It should also have copies of financial statements and the data on cash flow projections.

If you do not have an official business plan, you may be asked to demonstrate a solid record of revenue generation with at least one year in business. To get the application for an unsecured loan approved, it is important to prove that you are capable of repaying the loan amount without default.

2) Include a documented plan on the intended use of the loan – When you need a loan for business, you must also be able to tell the lender about its exact purpose. Be it a bank or a FinTech company, the lending institution will determine the credibility of your application on the basis of the reason for which you need the loan. While all organisations have their own unique requirements, the most common grounds for loans are business expansion, raw material or inventory purchase, administrative expenses and capital investments. You can also borrow from a digital lender to refinance or pay off old debts.

3) Know what kind of loan will suit your needs – Even after you describe the purpose of your loan, you may be faced with multiple loan categories that you can apply for. It is good to know the details of each – in terms of interest, tenure, payback plans and documents necessary to procure them. Banks and digital lenders often categorise their loan products for the ease of disbursement and management. While some credit products help in quick invoice financing, others may be more beneficial to buy inventory. Consult the lender to borrow profitably.

4) Double-check your cash flow projections – When a business does not have a high credit rating or a strong history of generating revenue, it typically gets saddled with a high interest rate on unsecured loan. It is therefore important to assess your cash flow projections. You must have a good knowledge of your ability to pay back and ensure that you will soon have adequate funds to clear off your debt.

5) Be aware of the risks that lenders assess – Lending institutions in both public and private sector evaluate loan applicants on a scale of risk. If a business is considered a ‘risky borrower’, there is a high chance that its loan may not be approved. The traits that make a business look risky are as follows:

– Very small owner’s equity
– Poor credit history or defaults in payment of previous loans
– Poor revenue earnings
– Very short period in the industry
– Weak accounting system
– Questionable management

6) Leverage your personal creditworthiness – Usually a business is a different entity from its owners. Even a sole proprietorship is a separate legal entity for accounting purposes. However, when it comes to getting a business loan without collateral, even a clean personal credit history can help you in obtaining the amount you seek. The strategy is to make payments on any outstanding personal debt and credit card bills as much as you can afford. This will give your lender more faith in your business and assure them that you are not burdening yourself with unpaid debts. You can personally guarantee for your business loans by proving your ability to repay them.

7) Research extensively for lenders – If you were denied a loan for business by a bank or a traditional lending agency, do not consider it the end of your search for funds. A FinTech company offering unsecured business loans evaluates your creditworthiness using parameters different from those used by banks. If you can successfully prove your expertise in business, FinTech lenders will provide adequate financing for your immediate working capital needs. So, think beyond the conventional platforms and apply for finance online using those documents that demonstrate your ability to pay back in time. Digital lenders also grant short-term loans, the amount being disbursed in a few minutes post the approval of the loan application.

The online lending industry has shown that getting a business loan need not be a frustrating process for SMEs anymore. FinTech companies are willing to grant loans and the application process can be effortless. All you need to do is start preparing early (in lieu of the competition from other similar applicants) and collate the minimum essential documents in support of your application.

At Capital Float, the basic premise is that all applications for getting a business loan will be evaluated with speed, efficiency and favour. The products for business loan in India are custom-fit for SMEs and include Term Finance, Online Seller Finance, Pay Later Finance, Merchant Cash Finance, Supply Chain Finance and Taxi Finance.

Oct 24, 2018

Card image cap
7 TIPS TO SAVE MONEY WHILE MANAGING PERSONAL FINANCES

In today’s world, saving money is of the utmost importance. If you are stressed about how to save money, then you are not the only one in this regard. Financial planning sounds easier than to practice. Even though it may be more exciting to spend money, you should try to practice saving for contingencies, as the future cannot be predicted and is uncertain.

Why is saving money essential?

Saving money can help you to become financially independent, providing you with security in the face of emergencies. Financial planning is necessary to set aside money for the family’s needs, such as the education of children, marriage expenses, healthcare expenses, planning for significant life events, retirement, etc. Saving money is an effective financial practice and a lifestyle choice with several proven benefits.

7 tips to save money

Though there are several ways to save money, you could consider implementing these seven tips:

  • Awareness: Being aware is one of the most critical factors. If you are aware of your finances and spending habits, you will be able to consciously set more money aside.  
  • Prepare a budget: Begin by identifying your fixed and flexible expenses. This will help you evaluate how much of your corpus is depleted by unnecessary expenditure. After this, you can prepare a budget on a weekly or monthly basis by setting expenditure limits. This will help you pay your bills while simultaneously creating a pool of savings. You can make a budget on a weekly or monthly basis (based on your preference) with spending limits clearly defined. This budget may help you in saving extra money and restricting unnecessary expenditures.
  • Curb the spendthrift in you: Many people aren’t always conscious of how lavishly they spend money on unimportant things. Tracking expenses will help you maintain a close vigil on expenses and keep the spendthrift within under control.
  • Create an emergency fund: While facing emergencies, financial support in the form of insurance or loans may not be immediately available or they may not cover the need of the hour. At such times, savings come in handy to address the contingency. Therefore, make sure you set aside a fund for unforeseen expenses.
  • Sell things you no longer use: There are many things we buy, and after some time, do not use any more. These items can be sold to generate funds.
  • Savings calculator: Various types of savings calculators can be found online. These can be used to calculate the amount one can save over a given period of time. Using these calculators could encourage the habit of saving.
  • Switch to a personal finance money management app: Spends tracking and budgeting can be made easy with personal finance management apps. Walnut is one of the most loved and rated apps in the market with over 10 million downloads. Use this app to unlock the financial planner in you. 

It is necessary to save money, as it provides security, financial independence, and reduces stress. Get started on your journey of personal financial planning to achieve peace of mind and money in the bank for when you need it.

Oct 24, 2018