Online Seller Finance – working capital loans for e-commerce merchants

The fact that ecommerce is growing exponentially all over the world is undeniable. Entrepreneurs everywhere are competing with each other to get a piece of this lucrative pie. Definitely, starting a business in the virtual world entails much less costs, making it easier for more and more people to fulfill their dreams of running their own enterprise.

However, even with ecommerce, there are some things that do need to get taken care. For instance, you will need an impactful website that stands out among the crowd and you will need products and/or services that the market is currently looking for. You will also need to identify a network of suppliers that you can work with and hire employees to take care of the day-to-day activities as well.

Most importantly, you require capital to keep the business running and leverage business opportunities. This is where Capital Float’s Online Seller Finance comes to the rescue. If you, as a new entrepreneur, were to approach a bank or NBFC for a loan, you will be faced with difficult terms and conditions, the least of which is proving that you’ve run the business successfully for at least a year.

On the other hand, with the flexibility, ease of processing and convenience of accessing working capital even an amount as low as ₹1 lakh to as high as ₹3 crores, Online Seller Finance, specifically designed for ecommerce businesses, is the way to go.

Features 

1) Loan range from 1 lakh to 3 crores

We cater to a wide range of e-commerce merchants. Each merchant has a different capital requirement based on their business need or opportunity. With our wide ticket range, we cater to practically any working capital requirement of the online seller segment. These funds could be used for a variety of purposes such as making supplier payments, adding inventory during peak seasons or diversifying into new product categories.

2) Customized credit criteria

We acknowledge that each merchant is inherently different and must be treated individually. Unlike many traditional financial institutions, we don’t follow a cookie-cutter method to underwrite our customers. By leveraging Big Data & Analytics, we are able to underwrite each customer on the merit of their business performance and offer a tailored credit product. For example, the merchant is offered a specific loan amount basis their monthly sales on the marketplace and projected revenue.

3) Quick, online application process

We are a digital finance company and believe in limited paperwork. We offer the convenience of technology to our customers right from the start of the relationship. Borrowers can apply online using their mobile devices, as long as they are connected to the internet. The 10-minute application is very simple, quick and entirely hassle-free. The borrower can upload their documents online and need not visit a physical office for presenting the documents.

4) No pre-closure charges

Borrowers can close their loan by repaying the balance amount before the end of the agreed tenure. We offer the feature of ‘no pre-closure charges’, which means that the borrower will not be liable to pay any extra charges for closing the loan ahead of time.

5) Get up to 2x credit based on your marketplace sales

Online merchants applying for ‘Online Seller Finance’ can avail up to twice the amount of sales they make on e-commerce marketplaces. For example, if the seller makes ₹10 lakhs in sales per month, the seller can receive working capital funds of up to ₹20 lakhs. These funds can fuel growth on the marketplaces, helping the seller to increase their business geometrically. Higher the sales, the higher the eligible loan amount, higher the chances of leveraging business opportunities.

Benefits

1) Collateral-free

Our Online Seller Finance credit product is an unsecured working capital loan. The borrower need not pledge any security or asset as collateral to avail this loan. Funds are approved on the merit of the borrower’s business performance on the marketplace and not on their assets. Merchants can avail funds and operate without the anxiety of conceding their securities.

2) Funds in 3 days

Our technology and Big Data capabilities help us speed up the underwriting process. We understand that ‘timing makes all the difference’ to online merchants, given how dynamic the business is. Payments can’t be delayed and opportunities must be seized immediately. Bearing this in mind, we disburse loans to the borrower in less than 72 hours of the loan application.

3) Flexible repayment terms

Banks and other NBFCs typically function using the model of EMIs, or easy-monthly-installments. ‘Online Seller Finance’ allows you to repay the installment on a fortnightly basis. As a result, the installment is smaller in amount and is less burdensome to repay when compared to a monthly installment, which would typically be twice the sum. This way, your cash flows remain unaffected and you have more funds to deploy into your business.

4) Ideal for expanding your business

Financing the online seller segment is relatively new in the lending space. Not many financial institutions have fully understood this segment, which has caused several e-commerce sellers to return empty handed from formal lenders. Capital Float was the pioneer in digital lending to e-commerce sellers. Therefore, we’ve made it a lot easier for online merchants to avail finance for their business. Our partnerships with leading marketplaces like Amazon, PayTM, Snapdeal, Myntra, Shopclues, eBay, Craftsvilla, etc. has enabled us to reach to a wide range of sellers. Merchants on these platforms can avail easy funding and expand their business on the platform.

Eligibility and Documents

To qualify for ‘Online Seller Finance’ you must comply with the following parameters.

Eligibility

1) Applicant’s business must have minimum operational history of 1 year

2) Applicant’s partnership minimum vintage should be between 3-6 months

3) Minimum quarterly sales of ₹25,000

Documents

1) Bank statements for the last six months

2) KYC documents of the applicant and the organization

Fee and Charges

At Capital Float, we conduct business in the most transparent manner. This means, you’re only obligated to pay a processing fee of up to 2% for the loan. There are no hidden or pre-closure penalties during or after your application procedure.

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Why Merchant Cash Advance is an ideal finance option for SMEs

An increasing number of businesses in India, even the smaller ones, are beginning to accept payments for their products and services via credit cards. The acceptance of credit card payments is not only convenient but also a boon for these units, as the same can be used to get short-term funding or advances from funding agencies. A merchant cash advance, as the name suggests, is a cash advance to merchants against their future credit card payment receivables.

Merchant cash advance is a relatively new form of funding in India for small businesses that need fast access to cash and have an established credit card transaction history. Widely used in the US and Canada for several years now, this type of lending is a convenient and easy method of raising funds. It’s not really a loan, rather an advance payment against the future income of a business. Merchant cash advance loans are an ideal solution for small businesses and entrepreneurs who lack adequate organized funding and often resort to borrowing from friends, family or unorganized lenders. They are emerging as an optimum solution for meeting the funding requirements of businesses with a regular income received via credit cards.

SMEs and Funding Options

A majority of the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) today operate with cash cycles of 60 days or more, but options for getting working capital finance are severely limited. Although the SME segment plays a key role in India’s economic growth, these enterprises suffer on account of inadequate funding options and thus resort to high interest loans from the informal segment.

Recent years have, however, witnessed the development of innovative products by non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) and micro lenders to fill the funding gap in the SME segment. Merchant cash advance is one such product that aims to help small businesses garner the necessary working capital by way of advances against the future income of a business.

Merchant Cash Advance: A Simple and Convenient Product

A merchant cash capital provider would give you a lump-sum amount, which is paid off automatically when they take a percentage of your daily credit card receipts. Since the repayment is linked to credit card receipts, this funding option is suitable for businesses that have a significant portion of their income via the credit card receipts. These include restaurant owners, online shopping sites, merchants and service providers.

The rate at which repayments are made or the retrieval rate can vary from 5% to 20% of the credit card receipts of a business. This retrieval rate is decided on the basis of the amount of advance, the quantum of sales via credit cards and the repayment period. Another important feature of this type of funding is that repayment begins immediately after the receipt of the funds with the total duration of the advance ranging between 180 and 360 days.

The amount of advance that a small business can get is determined by its average credit card sales. A merchant advance provider generally reviews your income inflow over the past six months to determine the advance amount that you can get. The funds provider generally ties up with the credit card payment processors with a predetermined percentage of the merchant’s credit card sales being transferred to the lender directly. The time taken to repay this advance is dependent on the percentage of credit card sales being given to the finance provider. The higher the percentage, the shorter is the time it would take to repay the advance.

Why Opt for a Merchant Cash Advance?

There are several reasons that make a merchant cash advance a preferred funding option for small businesses with high credit card transactions. These include:

1. Easy to Apply: It is very easy to apply for a merchant cash advance. All you need to do is to fill an online application form and upload the required supporting documents like your tax returns, bank account statements and credit card processing statements.

2. Quick Processing: Fund providers like Capital Float that rely heavily on cutting-edge technology take a decision within a few hours and deliver the funds within a few days. This is highly beneficial for businesses that require quick cash to cover unexpected business expenses.

3. Perfect Credit Score Not the Criteria: A merchant cash advance is sanctioned solely on the basis of the credit card receipts of a business and their consistency, without assigning too much importance paid to the credit score of an individual or business.

4. Unsecured Loans: A merchant cash advance is an unsecured loan that can be obtained without mortgaging any asset. No collateral is required and the focus is the future income.

5. Flexible Repayment: Since the repayment amount is a specific percentage of your credit card sales during a month, you are not overburdened or under pressure to pay more even during a lean period for your business or when your business is going through a rough patch and the sales are not up to the mark.

6. High Limits: Advance fund providers generally offer a higher borrowing limit than banks since they take their decisions on the basis of your future income.

7. No Impact on Credit Report: Since merchant cash capital is actually a sales transaction, it does not get reflected in the credit record of the business or the business owner.

A word of caution before you decide to take a merchant cash advance for funding your working capital needs. The cost of this type of funding may be higher than the loans taken from banks because the repayment is dependent on the factor rate of your advance. This factor rate is multiplied by the amount of advance to derive the total amount to be repaid. You can reap the benefits of merchant cash advance loans to fund your working capital needs by negotiating a lower holdback percentage. Although this will increase the repayment duration, it will help you minimize the cost.

Oct 24, 2018

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With a dream to revolutionize business lending in India, Capital Float provides loans to small businesses – YourStory

Written by Pardeep Goyal

The Indian business environment is exciting especially now, where every bright idea is turning into a business, big or small. There are over 30 million SMEs in India. Small businesses are run by passionate entrepreneurs, but unlike digital startups, venture capital money is not accessible to them. Despite efforts, some of these businesses are losing out on growth or shut shop due to lack of working capital.

With a dream to revolutionise business lending in India, Gaurav Hinduja and Shashank Rishyasringa are changing the business of money lending with Capital Float.

Initially, Shashank was an engagement manager at McKinsey & Company, where he advised several leading financial institutions, investment funds, governments and foundations on business strategy, governance, operations and risk management. Co-founder Gaurav was running operations at India’s big apparel manufacturer Gokaldas Exports with over 40,000 people and USD 250 million in revenues.

The duo were at Stanford together before they co-founded Capital Float. They considered various business ideas but doing something related to capital was a natural inclination for them. So they decided to take on the money lending problem for small businesses.

How Capital Float works?

According to Gaurav, Capital Float works in three basic steps:

  1. Customer has to apply online,
  2. Submit documents,
  3. He/she gets a loan if eligible in about three days.

Yes, just three days for loan!

He adds, “We make sure to go through as many data points as available, including external data sources to determine credit worthiness. Once we have established that, we have been able to disburse a loan in under three days and in a lot of cases where the loan is small, it happens instantaneously. In the future, we hope to reduce that time for disbursal even further.”

Team Capital Float understands the importance of friendly capital, and is quick to deliver that much-needed finance to promising businesses that approach them. It is rare in India that a small business can get a loan in such a short time from any traditional finance company. Gaurav says, “Besides the swiftness and hassle-free nature of our service, one of the key USP is that we do not charge a prepayment penalty and our products have dynamic tenures that suit our customer’s needs.”

Key Challenges and Motivation

Starting up always comes with its set of challenges. At Capital Float, they went through the motions like everyone else: from the initial days of hiring the right team to defining clear goals, to ensuring compliance.

For startups, challenges are part of the larger scheme of things to survive and grow. Capital Float is an RBI-certified NBFC but registration was not an easy task. “At one point, we almost quit and took a break for a couple of months. But we understood regulation is very important in a complex market like India and we got back on track and persisted with our goals”, says Gaurav.

Gaurav shares how the company started conversations with their customers in the early days: “Most traditional loan providers find reasons to say ‘no’ to an entrepreneur looking for capital, but we look for a reason to say yes.”

The company has come a long way now; it is serving in major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai and has testimonials from CFO of Zovi and other big brands.

According to Gaurav, today’s SMEs will drive tomorrow’s billion dreams. “But we need to ask ourselves who the driving and supporting force behind such SMEs are today,” he adds. The dream to revolutionise business lending in the country has kept Gaurav and Shashank going. “The fact that we get close to a hundred applications a day vindicates our belief in what we set out to do: create a capital revolution in India,” says Gaurav.

Being an entrepreneur himself in the fin-tech domain, Gaurav believes that entrepreneurs form the backbone of the Indian economy as the creators of the largest number of jobs and biggest contributors to the GDP. A significant hurdle for most of them is timely access to appropriate finance.

He shares some advice for entrepreneurs working in the financial domain and other budding startups:

  • Compliance is key; never ignore it
  • You should choose investors who share your vision
  • Don’t give up easily; starting up can initially wear you out but it should not bring you down
  • Don’t always hire for skills. Sometimes it’s important to hire for values
  • Don’t make promises to the customer that you cannot deliver on
  • Don’t launch your product in too many markets at once. Have a soft launch first, test it, tweak it and then re-launch the revised product

Gaurav adds, “There are many banks and NBFCs which provide loans to businesses, but you need to become a partner to your customer, not a lender. Use technology and big data to improve your customer’s experience. Understand how different customers use your products in different markets so that you can customise your product to meet their needs.”

Piece sourced from YourStory. You can read the full piece here.

Oct 24, 2018