In January 2020, consumer lending startup MoneyTap secured funding of Rs 500 crore as a part of an equity and debt round, and announced that it would use the funds to invest further in technology and data science, and launch its NBFC operations.
Since then, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Bengaluru-based MoneyTap has been on the growth trajectory.
The fintech startup has onboarded San Francisco-based serial entrepreneur Renaud Laplanche as one of its advisory board members, and is now looking to test international waters. Along with onboarding Upgrade CEO and Co-Founder Renaud, the company is set to hire more top-level executives this year.
The lending sector has grown amidst the pandemic despite people’s income being affected during the last six months.
According to YS Research, the fintech and financial services sector saw the most number of investments in H1 2020. In the first half of 2020, 71 fintech firms, including DMI Group, Digit Insurance, BharatPe, LendingKart, Ola Financial Services, and MobiKwik, raised a total of $899.6 million.
YourStory caught up with Bala Parthasarathy, CEO and Co-founder at MoneyTap, to understand why the India-based lending startup is looking at global markets, how the company onboarded Renaud Laplanche, change in user behaviour in the time of COVID-19, and more.
Edited excerpts from the interview:
YourStory (YS): What trends have you seen in the lending space amidst the coronavirus pandemic?
Bala Parthasarathy (BP): People are borrowing for essentials now. Apart from cash withdrawals against their MoneyTap Credit Line, education and healthcare loans have seen an uptick. Digital transactions are being strongly favoured. Borrowing for weddings has decreased, and for holiday spends is obviously not happening.
YS: What kind of growth has MoneyTap observed this quarter?
BP: Business has been great. We introduced ZeroTouch to help customers to get a credit line without any human intervention, tied up with Acko for loan insurance, and will be announcing a set of exciting partnerships in the future. Our loan disbursements and revenue are seeing a 35 percent jump month on month for this quarter.
YS: You recently onboarded Renaud Laplanche to help you test international waters. Can you tell us the back story?
BP: Renaud is considered the Godfather of Fintech. He started the first digital lending platform LendingClub in San Francisco; it was valued at over $1 billion. He has since then started Upgrade, which is again valued at over $1 billion. Only three others, including Steve Jobs and Elon Musk, have started two unicorns from scratch.
Renaud has been approached by a number of Indian fintechs for advice, board positions, investments, etc. over the years as getting him on board is a huge stamp. We have been in touch for over two years now through meetings in San Francisco and other conferences. As he got to know our business and we got to know him, we mutually realised that this was a terrific match and he agreed to join our advisory board. He believes that we have the leadership position among Asian lending players,.
We feel that having him on board will take us to the next level as he has a track record of actually taking a fintech company public.
YS: Which markets are you looking at and by when will MoneyTap be available in those markets? How are you customising your offering?
BP: We are looking to expand to more Tier II and III cities in India, and to global markets starting with South East Asia and the Middle East. In terms of customisation, Credit Line as a product caters to all segments as customers can borrow according to their needs (as low as Rs 3,000 or as high as up to Rs 5 lakh) and repayment capabilities (flexible EMIs of two to 36 months).
However, we make sure we not only do basic customisation in terms of language and currency, but also cater to local customer sentiments and culture by hiring a local team in each of these markets.
YS: Tell us the significance of expanding into global markets at this time.
BP: India is not only a significant market for fintech but is also three to five years ahead of most countries, even western ones, in terms of fintech infrastructure. Examples include UPI, e-Nach, DigiLocker, Account Aggregator, etc. Considering what we have built in India, expanding into these markets gives us a significant early mover advantage.
YS: What announcements and developments can we expect from MoneyTap in the next 12 months?
BP: We have some very exciting new products in the pipeline and will also announce some new partnerships shortly. We are also actively hiring some top talent in the coming months.
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)
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