Capital Float looks to expand to over 100 cities – Livemint

Capital Float plans expansion in over 100 cities as it bids to offer loans for small brick-and-mortar store owners for a bigger share of the growing financial lending market

Capital Float, which is currently focused on offering loans to small and medium merchants in Tier 1 and metro cities, is now looking to concentrate more on tier 2 and tier 3 cities.

Mumbai: SME lending platform Capital Float, run by Zen Lefin Pvt. Ltd, is looking to expand its reach to over 100 cities and venture into newer categories like loan for small brick-and-mortar store owners, as it eyes a bigger share of the growing financial lending market in the country.

“We are expecting a 10 times growth by the end of March 2017, adding 15,000-20,000 customers (borrowers) cumulatively across all the loan products segment,” said co-founder and managing director Sashank Rishyasringa.

The company has offered loans to 3,000 borrowers until now.

Founded in 2013 by Rishyasringa and Gaurav Hinduja, Capital Float has disbursed loans amounting to over Rs.400 crore.

A technology-led non-banking financial company (NBFC) underwrites unsecured loans online to start-ups, business-to-business (B2B) providers, manufacturers and e-commerce merchants through its own books.

It currently gets 33% of the business from online vendors.

With the aim of extending its focus to small mom-and-pop or kirana shops along with micro small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the company has already made a mobile application that approves loans in less than eight minutes.

Loans to kirana shops could be in the range of Rs.50,000-100,000.

India currently has minimal lending options for small businesses. These businesses are largely ineligible to receive any financing from banks or NBFCs.

Traditional banks ask for collateral, financial statements and bank statements and do not offer small ticket size loans.

Capital Float is trying to solve the problem by lending money to small businesses that might not have collateral, significant revenues or years of experience.

The company offers an alternative for these small traditional business houses that have largely banked on chit funds and local money lenders to borrow money from.

Identifying a need to extend credit to such under-served, Rata Tata, Vijay Kelkar (former finance secretary and chairman of the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy) and Nandan Nilekani (co-founder of Infosys Ltd and the architect of Aadhaar) will soon start a microfinance institution named Avanti Finance, Mint reported on Monday.

Capital Float, which is currently focused on offering loans to small and medium merchants in Tier 1 and metro cities, is now looking to concentrate more on tier 2 and tier 3 cities. “I expect a significant contribution of these cities (tier 2 and tier 3) to the company’s growth, which could be around 33% by next year,” Rishyasringa added.

The loan products currently include working capital finance to online sellers for 90-180 days, long-term finance to merchants for six months to three years, bill discounting and taxi financing (loans for cab drivers), among others.

Broadly, the company has partnered with e-commerce websites, payment gateways, cab services, amounting to 50 partnerships, including with Snapdeal, Shopclues, Paytm and Uber to offer loans to a large pool of small businesses and merchants who work with these partners.

The company is also eyeing profitability in the next 12 months on the back of a robust demand for loans by SMEs.

To enable faster disbursal of loans, the company launched its mobile application two to three months ago, which is privately available to businesses through partners.

While loan applications were initially accessible only through the website, Capital Float is now seeing that mobile application and mobile browsing has grown to contribute 50% of loan applications, said Rishyasringa.

The mobile application is built on four technology pillars of India Stack—Aadhaar-based authentication, an electronic process of know-your-customer (e-KYC), electronic signature (e-Sign) and unified payment interface (UPI).

India Stack is a set of publicly available application programming interface (API)—that enable companies to build applications and businesses based on these four pillars.

The fin-tech company receives a loan enquiry every three minutes, said Rishyasringa. An inquiry implies a prospective borrower initiating a loan application process.

While the company remains stringent in extending loans, by approving 20% of the applications, total loan disbursal amounts to an average of Rs.70 crore per month.

Additionally, the average loan amount extended to a merchant is Rs.10 lakh at an interest rate of 16-19%, for a tenure of between 60 days to 2-3 years. The company maintains and targets to continue to maintain a non-performing asset (NPA) proportion of less than 1% of its total loan amount.

NPA is the proportion of the amount of bad loans to the total amount of loan disbursed.

Backed by George Soros’s Aspada Investment Co., SAIF Partners and Sequoia Capital, the company has raised $42 million, including $25 million in series B round of funding in May.

Other players in this segment that Capital Float competes with are Capital First Ltd, NeoGrowth Credit Pvt. Ltd and SMEcorner.in (Amadeus Advisors Pvt. Ltd). In July, NeoGrowth raised $35 million from IIFL Asset Management, Accion Frontier Inclusion Fund managed by (Quona Capital) and Aspada Investments, along with other investors, reported PTI.

The original article is written by Arushi Chopra. Click here to read the original article.

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Working Capital Financing: Why It Is Essential For The Success Of a Business

India is on the path of robust economic growth. According to official figures, the economy was valued at $2.2 trillion in 2016, making it the world’s seventh largest economy in terms of nominal GDP. The Indian economy is expected to reach the $5 trillion mark by 2025, according to a report published by Morgan Stanley in February 2017. India seems to have all the right ingredients in place to achieve this phenomenal growth; the country’s millennial population is massive, there’s availability of cheap labor, the government’s policies are favorable, Indians have exhibited high adoption of the latest technological advancements and the SME segment is growing at a fairly healthy rate.

The SME (Small and Medium Enterprises) sector is critical to the development of the Indian economy. It contributed 40% of the nation’s exports and 45% of total manufacturing output in 2015. The segment’s contribution to India’s GDP is expected to grow from 17% recorded in 2010-2011 to 22% by 2020.

Despite these facts, the SME sector has witnessed some challenges with regards to financing. The need for cash to manage daily operations and the inability to access commercial finance have hindered the development of SMEs.

Why is Working Capital So Critical for Any Business?

All businesses need some funds to run their daily, weekly and monthly operations. Working capital is, therefore, essential for the smooth working of a business. The main reasons for working capital being so important are:

Enhances Solvency: Working capital aids a business to operate smoothly and meet all its short-term expenses, including purchasing raw materials, payment of salaries and meeting overhead expenses. Some of these payments cannot be delayed. Having sufficient liquidity helps the uninterrupted flow of production; thus, maintaining the solvency of a business.

Increased Goodwill: When a business is able to promptly meet its regular expenses and pay salaries on time, it generates goodwill, not just internally with employees but also with suppliers and distributors.

Uninterrupted Supply of Raw Materials: Quick payments ensure regular supply of raw materials. Suppliers of raw materials are usually apprehensive about small businesses being able to make the payments and do not offer a suitable credit period. The inability to pay suppliers can result in production coming to a standstill.

Improved Ability to Face Any Crisis: Apart from the smooth functioning of business operations, working capital ensures that any financial emergency can be handled with ease. Sometimes businesses face an unforeseen event, like an order being rejected, unfavorable weather conditions or the unavailability of a particular resource. A business that has sufficient liquidity can cushion itself against such situations. Thus, the financing of working capital defines the financial health of a business and how smoothly it can operate under different circumstances.

Why is Working Capital Finance So Difficult to Get for SMEs?

The most critical challenge that even profitable SMEs face is the lack of working capital, given their inability to access commercial finance. Public sector banks are burdened by bad debt loans to offer any support to these companies. Traditional banking institutions are apprehensive about offering commercial finance to SMEs and place stringent eligibility criteria for approval. Most of their loans require collateral to be furnished even for financing of working capital.

The greatest problem is that the loan application and approval process of traditional banking institutions is so tedious and prolonged, that SMEs find it excruciatingly painful to access these options. They may have to wait months only to have their loan application rejected. SMEs, therefore, look for alternate sources for financing of working capital and turn towards unorganized moneylenders who charge exorbitant interest rates.

Working Capital Financing Needs Met By Technology

SMEs need financing of working capital. They need swift and easy availability of commercial finance, without the need for extensive paperwork and collateral. The solution finally arrived in the form of FinTech lenders like Capital Float.

The FinTech segment has revolutionized the financing of working capital for SMEs by using cutting-edge technology in the loan application, underwriting and approval processes. This enables the disbursement of funds to SMEs within a matter of days.

Types of Working Capital Financing

There are a number of flexible, short-term and collateral-free loans offered that can be used to service new orders, purchase inventory and maintain cash cycles. These include:

Term Finance: This is ideal for SMEs particularly in the manufacturing and distribution space that need funds to meet operational needs or to expand and diversify the business.

Online Seller Finance: This is best suited for businesses that sell their products on leading online marketplaces. Capital Float has partnered with India’s largest marketplaces, like Amazon, PayTM, Snapdeal, Myntra, Shopclues and eBay to offer eCommerce sellers customized working capital finance.

Pay Later Finance: This product offers a credit facility and suits SMEs that have to regularly replenish their inventory. This revolving credit facility enables a borrower to make timely supplier payments from a predetermined credit amount. This amount can be reset upon repayment and is made available for further use.

Merchant Cash Advance: This credit solution is for businesses that receive payments via credit / debit cards via PoS (point of sale) machines. Capital Float has partnerships with multiple PoS machine vendors such as Pine Labs, Mswipe, ICICI Merchant Services, MRL Posnet and Bijlipay, expanding its reach to merchants across the country.

Supply Chain Finance: This commercial finance product allows businesses to use their invoices or accounts receivables as the basis to gain access to liquid funds.

SMEs are of strategic importance to the Indian economy and deserve a business climate in which they can thrive and grow. The financing of working capital made available by FinTech lenders will help the SME segment to move forward and contribute significantly to the growth of the Indian economy.

Oct 24, 2018

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Implication of GST on e-Commerce Sellers

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) is the single biggest reform in India’s indirect tax structure since the liberalisation of the economy in 1991. Through this reform, the government has integrated the previously disparate segments of the Indian economy and has truly begun the process of creating one market for the entire nation. The idea of a single tax on the supply of goods and services, from manufacturing to delivery to the final consumer, has eliminated the need for sellers to register with multiple tax platforms and file multiple tax returns.

GST is going to have a major impact on e-commerce in the country. Apart from consumers, this trade segment has two key players: the e-commerce marketplaces and the sellers. While e-commerce marketplaces such as Flipkart and Amazon are required to make necessary adjustments to their operations, it is the impact on e-commerce sellers, represented by the thousands of retailers that sell through the marketplace that requires intense scrutiny. Through this blog, we assess the impact of GST on e-commerce sellers and the steps such businesses need to take to ensure regular compliance.

GST-induced taxation changes for e-commerce sellers

Presently, GST appears to be an assortment of compliance guidelines. The enhanced regulatory requirements might take a seller’s focus away from operations for some time. However, GST as a single tax for products across India will be beneficial for all e-commerce sellers in the long run because of the aspect of transparency in trade brought forth by this new indirect tax reform. Let’s discuss the impact of GST on an online seller’s operations:

1. Increased reach of e-commerce sellers: GST has opened avenues for small and medium sized e-commerce sellers to compete with larger enterprises at a national level. Previously, these sellers were limited to operating within the confines of one state due to the looming tax rates of trading across multiple states. By unifying the taxation, e-sellers need not be burdened by multiple taxes while selling to consumers across various states.

2. Compulsory registration required: The government has specified a turnover threshold of Rs 20 lakh for registration under GST. This has been relaxed to Rs 10 lakh for north-eastern states. However, for e-commerce sellers, registration is mandatory, irrespective of whether they fall below the turnover slab of Rs 20 lakh or not. Removal of the threshold for registration will help bring more online businesses into the sphere of taxation.

3. Ineligible for Composition Scheme: E-commerce sellers are not eligible for the Composition Scheme either. The Composition Scheme permits businesses with a turnover of under Rs 75 lakh to file quarterly returns instead of monthly and pay tax at a low rate of 2%. Although this might seem to be a disadvantage for e-commerce sellers, the number of documents required to file for the Composition Scheme is relatively higher, reducing the burden of document collation on the seller.

4. Tax collected at source (TCS): E-commerce marketplaces are required to deduct 2% TCS on the net value of sales as the GST liability of the seller and deposit it with the government. Further, the sales reported by both the e-commerce marketplace as well as the seller need to tally at the end of each month. Discrepancies, if any, will be added to the turnover of the seller and they will be liable to pay GST on the additional amount. This measure will weed out fraudulent sellers and shall subsequently build trust between marketplaces and sellers.

5. Filing of tax returns: The e-commerce sellers need to follow the same process that is followed by brick-and-mortar retailers. Form GSTR-1, containing details of outward supplies, needs to be submitted by the 10th of every month. The seller will receive Form GSTR-2A by the 11th of the same month, which contains details of the tax collected by the e-commerce marketplace. They then need to review and submit Form GSTR-2 by the 15th of the month. Discrepancies in supplies are to be submitted through Form GST ITC-1 by the 21st of the same month. This would require businesses to be particular about tallying data coming from different sources before filing returns. Taking the help of a professional GST services provider in meeting compliance has become a requisite in light of these regulations.

6. Increase in Credit: The GST law has established ‘input tax credit’ to cover goods or services used by a company in the course of business. E-commerce sellers need to establish a direct relationship between the input material and the final product/service is eliminated. Much like other registered entities under GST, e-commerce sellers too can now avail input credit.

7. Refunds under cash on delivery: Consumers extensively opt for ‘cash on delivery’ in India and such sales witness return of orders to the tune of 18%. The reconciliation process for refunds takes around 7-10 days. Initially, there might be confusion around generating refunds for cancelled orders where taxes have already been filed.

The impact of GST on logistics and warehousing

With the Government having done away with multiple layers of tax, GST is bound to reduce costs incurred in e-commerce logistics. This reduction, according to some estimates, could be as high as 20%. Also, with state-level taxes being subsumed under GST, e-commerce platforms can reduce warehousing costs as they need not maintain huge warehouses across multiple locations in India. Such warehouses were earlier operating below their rated capacities, adding to inefficiencies and the selling price of products. Now, e-commerce marketplaces can opt for maintaining a few warehouses at strategic locations. These well-maintained logistics hubs will be able to attract FDI inflows and lead to an increase in overall efficiency in operations. With the free movement of goods and services and a uniform tax rate across states, e-commerce sellers will be free to transport across different locations in India.

The implementation of GST stands to benefit e-commerce sellers, as due to the elimination of entry taxes and faster movement of goods vehicles across states, the last mile delivery costs will come down. This benefit can be passed on to customers. Also, e-commerce marketplaces are now free to source goods from SMEs across India and not just limit themselves to local players across states. They were compelled to do this earlier to save costs on heavy inter-state taxation. Such a move will give impetus to the SME sector in India and foster healthy competition among SMEs, thereby improving the quality of products and services available in India.

Conclusion

There is no doubt that e-commerce will be subject to increased tax compliance and subsequently increased costs. However, in the long run, GST should level the playing field for e-commerce sellers, thereby streamlining their operations and setting the tone for increased business growth

Visit our blog to read more engaging content on GST.

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Oct 24, 2018

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Top Reasons Why Unsecured Business Loans Are Becoming Popular

During the lifecycle of a business, there are times when the inadequacy of working capital threatens the flow of operations and hinders growth. Traditional lending institutions in India such as banks rarely provide assistance in such situations, as they generally demand collateral, which small business and young entrepreneurs may not possess. An unsecured business loan can take care of routine business expenditure such as maintenance of machinery, making payments to suppliers and purchasing raw material. It can also be useful for business expansion activities such as purchasing new machinery or expanding premises.

Moreover, all small and medium enterprises need funds to seize new opportunities for growth, and the window for such opportunities is usually small. In such a scenario, there is a need for quick access to funds. The loan repayment schedule also needs to be synchronous with the expected revenue flow from a business venture. Hence, an unsecured business loan taken from a FinTech company works best for them, as it is disbursed much faster than a loan from a bank. Further, these FinTech companies ensure that an SME is always at ease while paying the loan instalments.

Unsecured loans are turning extremely popular amongst small businesses communities. These are a few reasons why.

They help strengthen the business finances

A suitable business growth opportunity can present itself at any time, and therefore a small business needs to have access to adequate resources at all times. In case the cash flow situation is imperfect or there is a working capital requirement to meet routine business expenses, it helps to take an unsecured loan for a short period until the situation improves. This ensures that a small business will never find itself at a disadvantage when a new opportunity presents itself. Such loans from FinTech companies do not come with any prepayment penalty, and their tenure can vary from a few months to a couple of years.

Faster approval and quick access to funds

The digital revolution and the subsequent development of IT systems and processes have led to the rise of new age FinTech companies over the past five years. FinTech companies in India follow a completely different approach to the unsecured business loan market, as they use innovative technologies to profile, design and disburse loan products for small businesses. Even the application for an unsecured loan can be made online or through the mobile app, and all supporting documents such as bank statements, tax statements, previous loan statements, KYC documents, business receivables and other relevant documents can be uploaded in digital format. The use of advanced analytic techniques allows these companies to process a loan application within minutes. Upon approval, the loan amount is transferred to the borrower’s bank account within a few working days.

An unsecured loan product for every business

Extensive use of technology enables FinTech companies such as Capital Float to design new loan products that are meant to fulfil varying business needs. The loan product, Term Finance, is meant for small businesses that have been in operation for more than two years and have been doing good during that period. Such businesses can take business loans from ₹1 lakh to ₹1 crore for a duration of a few months to three years.

Supply chain finance is meant for small businesses that have blue-chip companies as customers. Such businesses can take up to 80% of the pending invoice value as an unsecured loan. The loan can be repaid either as monthly instalments or at one go upon receiving payments from the customer.

Unsecured loan products designed to support digital economy

Online Seller Finance is another loan product from Capital Float that is designed for businesses that generate revenue through e-commerce marketplaces. It provides up to 200% of the monthly sales volume as advance to such businesses. This money can be used to accelerate business growth online.

Similarly, merchants that receive the bulk of their payments through PoS terminals can avail up to 200% of their monthly card settlement value as advance through a customized finance product called Merchant Cash Advance. The loan amount can be repaid through the deduction of a fixed percentage from card settlements in the subsequent months.

Get loans on the most favourable terms

Capital Float offers loans at the most competitive rates. These unsecured loan costs can be brought further down by choosing the right loan product. Capital Float charges a flat 2% processing fee for all their loan products, and there are no other hidden charges. Another great benefit is the flexibility offered in loan repayment, which is linked to the business receivables.

Indeed, new age technology driven FinTech companies have eased the pain in procuring funds from the unsecured loans market in India, and small businesses can look up to them as a partner in their business growth.

At Capital Float, we fully understand the business challenges faced by small businesses and have therefore designed the unsecured loan products in such a way that businesses can focus more on business growth rather than on worrying about getting business finance. Our customised plans ascertain that you get just the right product that suits your unique need.

To find out the product that best suits your business, click here.

Oct 24, 2018