Making SMEs Loans a Breeze With Capital Float – ProductNation

Interviewed by Kritika Prashant

Typically, choosing to finance the SMEs looking for working capital loans, is not easy. First, the SMEs have smaller ticket size. Then they expect quick service and have high operational costs associated with it. ProductNation interviewed Shashank Rijyasringa and Gaurav Hinduja who started Capital Float in early 2013, a digital finance company that serves the loan requirements of SMEs in India.

Shashank having worked with McKinsey and Bain, has a background in creating, and packaging financial instruments. Gaurav on the other hand had grown and sold his family business before they met at Stanford as classmates.

“We were looking to address financial inclusion. We observed how the fin-tech space was being disrupted in US and China, and saw the huge opportunity in India. With 48 million SMEs, second just to China, with 50 million, India needed lenders who would tailor their offering to the needs of the customers. The rate of interest by the banks was much higher than expected. Also, the loan disbursement ate up a lot of time. So this need was largely catered to by the informal sector”, says Gaurav.

Registered as an NBFC with RBI, they started with an instrument for invoice financing (building loan product against invoice of blue-chip companies). The duo gradually evolved their products to provide working capital loans for SMEs. They developed underwriting models which address the specific scenarios of the SMEs.

“There are 2 broad categories of sellers coming up on eCommerce portals. First are those who sell on platforms like Zovi and Myntra, where the sellers are also the manufacturers. Other category includes retailers who sell on sites like Snapdeal and Paytm. They generate a huge demand for loans available at short notice periods with minimum hassle. That is where we found our sweet spot”, shares Shashank.

Here are some experpts from the interview:

How did you overcome the problems of traditional lending?

SR: “Firstly, our experience came in handy. My in-depth knowldge of micro-financing, packaging and selling loan instrument meant we could build the right services. Gaurav with his experience of running a business out of India, knew how to deliver the services we wanted to build.

Secondly, we met with our customers to understand what their problems really were. To a small business owner, every hour spent off the floor is an hour wasted. We came up with innovative methods like allowing same day approvals and providing loan facility over phone and laptop. These businesses needed greater accessibility and straight-forward procedures. They wanted someone who could understand the value of their time.

Third, and definitely the most crucial point was that we adopted trial and error method. Like any startup, we didn’t know exactly how things would work. We were building our instruments in-house. So we had to fail fast and experiment quickly. With agile methodology, today, we can deliver new loan products in 2 weeks. A bank would take about an year to do the same.”

How is the policy environment evolving in India, with respect to your industry?

GH:  “The Mudra banks for refinancing are a welcome move. With 950 million Aadhar numbers issued, allowing eKYC, is it much easier to issue loans. The Digital India initiative to create better internet connectivity will help us reach a much larger customer base.”

They are leveraging the Indian stack to refine their instruments and are growing with it.

How difficult is it to get payback of loans?

SR: “SMEs are the most financially aware and responsible segment, since they always manage their finances tightly. Also, our screening process mitigates high risk customers, allowing us to cater to the needs in minimum possible time frame. So that’s not much of an hassle.”

What would be the 3 lessons you have learned from your journey?

GH: “1. Perseverance – One needs to believe that the idea would work, when no one else knows if it will. It is important to stick to that optimism and keep trying to find the exact fit.

  1. Strong fundamentals – From the first day, the business needs to know where its money will come from. The cash flow should not be dependent on where one is, in the funding cycle.
  2. Rounded team – Build a great team if you want to build a great product. A strong team stands by you to make it possible.”

What would you say to the entrepreneurs starting up fresh out of college? 

SR: “There is no right time to startup. Whenever you get passionate about a problem and see a large market for it, go for it. Here are my 3 tips:

  1. Address a big problem. If you go after a problem which is not so big, it may not be worth all the effort. India provides huge opportunities with really major problems that need to be addressed.
  2. Maintain discipline. Whatever you do, think big and build for the long term.
  3. Understand your responsibility. As you grow your team, you need to realise that families of your employees are getting dependent on you. It is essential that you take your decisions wisely.”

What are the mistakes you wish you did not make?

GH: “We were too slow in the start. We should have been aggressive, and believed in ourselves more. We thought people might not accept a technological solution. We have realized however, that technology has to lead the change in society. Invest in constantly being disruptive and you will definitely make a difference.”

News piece sourced from ProductNation. Read the full piece here.

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A competitive environment works as a catalyst for growth for businesses, large, medium or small. Small businesses in India have been flourishing in a disorganized market for a while now, capitalizing on trends and changing consumer preferences. Yet one of the challenges they have to deal with is the lack of timely funds, whether by way of short-term business finance or investment in technology or infrastructure for scaling up. The struggle to get affordable financing has resulted in many Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) failing to realize their full potential.

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Easy application procedure

As compared to traditional banks, online lenders such as Capital Float offer the convenience of filling out a 10-minute application form from anywhere, anytime. Digitally uploading required documents translates into an easy and hassle-free process. Given this day and age of instant connectivity, this isn’t a tough task; but going through the multiple layers of process at a conventional bank is.

Prompt approval

Apart from a laborious process of submitting umpteen documents and heavy paperwork, it is likely that a conventional lender will keep a small business owner waiting for loan approval. Compare this to a situation where applicants receive instant approval in minutes. Short loans are the lifeblood for a business. Meeting a smooth supply chain, daily payments, urgent expenses and several other unforeseen expenditures are part and parcel of business operations. Thus lack of liquidity can have ripple effects on many aspects of a business. Through quick approvals for term loans, online lenders ensure SMEs avert such crises with short-term business finance, available practically at their fingertips.

Not just fast, friendly too

Unless SMEs have some collateral to offer, turning to conventional lenders for term loans might be futile. Traditional banks are highly inflexible when it comes to scanning an applicant for short loans. Public Sector banks require a business to be running for at least three to five years to be eligible for a loan. The same holds true for private banks, traditional NBFCs and moneylenders. This is where new-age fintech lenders make a difference. Far more customer-friendly, and digitally enabled, lenders such as Capital Float provide Small and Medium Enterprises even as young as one year old with short term business finance. Aspiring entrepreneurs need some handholding when it comes to finances. These digital lenders are here to do just that.

Easier on the pocket

Term loans acquired through traditional means dig deep into your pockets. But, those availed of online are far easier for a number of reasons, including.

  • Pre closure penalties go up to 5% of the loan. This isn’t the case if you choose to get short-term business finance from Capital Float. We levy no such charges on clients if they wish to close the loan ahead of the term.
  • The processing fees for a short loan offered by traditional lenders start from 2% and in many cases go up to 3%. Financing through Capital Float means SMEs only have to bear a fee of up to 2% in processing fees.
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  • Short-term business finance procured from PSUs, private banks and traditional NBFCs carry a hidden charge. SMEs don’t have to worry about that when they approach Capital Float for a short loan.
  • Strict repayment options are one of the characteristics of a term loan procured through traditional means. These work on an EMI-only basis. Would it not be far more convenient to have a choice of flexible repayment? All of Capital Floats’ financial products come with easy repayment options. All loan products are offered at a reasonable interest rate.

Variety of loan products

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Top 3 Reasons Why Unsecured Loans Help Small Businesses Grow Faster

A small business generally embarks on its journey through investments from angel investors or venture capitalists. As its business matures, it may aspire to borrow more money not only to keep the enterprise operational, but also to explore new horizons. Such a small business can approach banks and other traditional non-banking finance companies (NBFC) to procure business loans. However, these institutions follow a prolonged process for loan approval and prefer providing small business loans only against collateral. Most small businesses that are still in their growth phase do not have sufficient collateral to get secured business loans, and so their only avenue for business funding is an unsecured business loan.

The new age FinTech companies such as Capital Float provide unsecured loans in India to small businesses to help meet their urgent business needs. By applying innovative technologies, they are able to process an unsecured loan application in virtually no time. Their processing, from loan approval to disbursal, also remains completely transparent throughout. Once approved, the unsecured business loan amount is credited to the bank account of the customer in three working days.

Unsecured small business loans come to the rescue of small businesses at critical times, and with the right amount at the right time, they considerably aid a small business in growing faster. Let us look at how taking an unsecured business loan helps in business growth.

Maintaining healthy cash flows

In the past, small businesses used to be averse to availing an unsecured loan due to concerns about falling into a debt trap. They also occasionally lacked confidence in their ability to repay unsecured loans. This is no longer the case. In a fast-growing global economy such as India, plenty of opportunities are available for small businesses to explore with greater confidence. Maintaining a healthy cash flow position provides them with additional funds for marketing of products and services, adding new inventory, expanding premises or hiring more staff.

Unsecured small business loans provide the strategic edge to make wise investment choices, which help a small business to grow faster. The revenue earned from new business ventures can be used to repay the unsecured loan and to boost the cash flow position.

Timely access to funds

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The application for an unsecured loan from FinTech companies can be done online or through a mobile app, and all essential business documents such as bank statements, previous loan statements, tax statements, business invoices, KYC documents and the like can be uploaded online. These companies focus on providing unsecured small business loans to SMEs and fully understand the business challenges faced by them.

A variety of unsecured loans for different business needs

Businesses can avail unsecured small business loans at competitive rates from FinTech companies such as Capital Float according to their need. We provide a variety of unsecured small business loans that are designed to take care of differing business requirements. These include:

• Term Finance: Small businesses that have been in operation for more than two years and have sound business financials can take unsecured loans such as Term Finance. This product allows a business to borrow money varying from rupees one lakh to rupees one crore, for a tenure ranging from a few months to up to three years. A nominal processing fee is charged, and there is generally no pre-closure penalty.

• Supply Chain Finance: SMEs with invoice receivables from large companies can avail themselves of Supply Chain Finance for up to 80% of the invoice value. This unsecured loan can be repaid either through monthly instalments or as a one-time payment upon receiving funds on your invoices.

• Online Seller Finance: Certain loans such as Online Seller Finance have been designed keeping in mind the specific requirements of merchants who sell aggressively through online marketplaces such as Flipkart and Amazon India. Such merchants can take up to 200% of their monthly receivables as an unsecured loan.

• Merchant Cash Advance: Businesses such as retail stores and restaurants that receive the bulk of their payments through card swipe machines can also take up to 200% of their monthly receivables as an advance upfront through this loan product. Merchant Cash Advance can be repaid through a fixed percentage deduction from the card settlement amount in the subsequent months.

Benefit from competitive interest rates for unsecured loans

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Capital Float acts like a partner to small businesses, which could be traders, manufacturers, service providers or retailers. Unsecured small business loans are provided based on the financials of a small business, and at no point is there a requirement to pledge any asset.

Capital Float believes in being the pioneer in innovation while offering unsecured loans in India to SMEs. This is showcased through our various unsecured loan products to fulfil needs of businesses in every sector. Capital Float charges a flat processing fee of 2% across various unsecured loan products, and no hidden charges are levied beyond the interest rates.

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