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Fintech Startup Indifi Looks To Overhaul Online Lending For SMBs With Data Partnerships And Segment-Wise Approach

Fintech Startup Indifi Looks To Overhaul Online Lending For SMBs With Data Partnerships And Segment-Wise Approach

Alok isn't always new to the world of Indian startups – he had in advance sold his e-hiring employer JobsAhead for approximately $6.Three Mn (INR 40 Cr). And he's the former India head of VC company Canaan Partners.

The legacy problem of banks being unable to finance capital loans for small-time enterprise proprietors due to loss of proper paperwork is a familiar one. For instance, a running capital loan in a countrywide bank requires submitting IT returns for 3 years and accreditation of business and so on. In a in large part digital world, this technique is tedious, time-ingesting. It does no longer come with a positive-fire guarantee of getting the authorised loan, for the equal motive as the only-length-fits-all approach of fintech startups.

“At Indifi, our method differs on  fronts. Number one, we work on solving capital lending for SMBs on a segment by way of segment foundation. Secondly, we look to leverage the most quantity of statistics to provide for accuracy with regards to lending.”


Alok Mittal in conjunction with Siddharth Mahanot, and Sundeep Sahi released Indifi in June 2015 for the journey and inn segments of SMBs. The concept became simple –  solving the problem of capital lending for the millions of the fragmented SMB region in India.

Within  years of release, the employer has improved its footprints and dispensed loans across a hundred and fifty towns in India, to the music of $12.4 Mn (INR 80 Cr).

The Indifi Approach: Lending To SMB Segments

Indifi deals with SMBs in  verticals – travel companies or OTAs and the HoReCa phase (Hotels, Restaurants, and Cafes). When brought about why they chose to consciousness on those two segments, Alok shares that the marketplace possibility in capital lending for tour organizations is about $400 Bn (consistent with a document by way of FHM). And the core reason for that is the lack of in depth facts to be had for those corporations.

Most established lenders have blacklisted small-time travel businesses because of the manner they conduct business – agencies buy and sell tickets in bulk, charging a small commission for the identical. But the transactions do not show in their books, leading to a discrepancy in bookkeeping. These organizations had been traditionally taken into consideration “unstable” and “fly-by way of-the-night time.” Volatile, because the quantity of enterprise is varied and so is profits based totally at the identical.

“It was this belief that led to the tour segment dropping out on a good credit score assessment. We realised then that the trouble that existed become not that they have been a terrible hazard, however that there has been no proper manner to degree their volume of business – transaction and ticket-wise.” And so, that is exactly in which Indifi stepped in and created a bridge among the borrowers within the phase and the creditors.

Creating Data Partnerships To Simplify Lending

They created this by means of bridge with the aid of partnering up with firms that were tracking these ticket transactions. They created information partnerships by means of inviting them to come onboard. This also proved to be an initial obstacle because information-sharing is touchy and can be misused too.

But once businesses inclusive of MakeMyTrip (a know-how associate with Indifi) realised that the higher credit for the debtors would suggest extra extent of commercial enterprise from their quit (greater capital might cause larger transactions),they have been more receptive to the idea. The records partner could determine the stability or volatility of the borrower journey enterprise by way of parsing various facts factors as required. This became additionally a advertising method adopted through the employer to onboard borrowers.

The Indifi group then built proprietary credit score algorithms to automate this system to signal threat checks. The pilot programme took off with MakeMyTrip and ShopClues in 2015 after six months of studies and building out the platform and the primary lender to return onboard became NBFC Edelweiss Capital.

Alok reveals that within the initial six months, they have been capable of onboard about 200 borrowers. But now they have processed about 2,000 loans one-0.33 of which comes from the journey phase.

The Indifi Model For Disbursing Loans

Indifi followed the equal process while it got here to getting into the subsequent phase their platform caters to – HoReCa. For hotels, the capital requirements had been exceptional than those of the tour vertical. For one, their bookkeeping is a lot greater sound with transactions taking place on a normal foundation (day by day/monthly) and monitoring was now not the pain factor.

Hotels need larger capital to be able to conduct renovations or overhaul the space – inside the operations and hiring space, basically. So, the lending supplying to accommodations is distinct than what's supplied for travel businesses, who want shorter-time period loans which will keep their line of credit score. For motels, the mortgage duration is of long run – one to 2 years with a facility to deplete the asked loan amount in installments.

For the tour segment, Indifi provides the opportunity to avail of 30-60 day unsecured loans ranging between $775-$7754 (NR 50,000 to INR 5 Lakhs).

How The Platform Works

Once a borrower (platform user) submits their KYC documents along with the desired financial institution statements, they will acquire an in-principle sanction within 24 hours. Strength, threat and volatility of the borrower is assessed by the proprietary set of rules and tracked facts. The mortgage term is then created, depending on the need of the borrower versus what's possible for the platform.

The Turnaround Time (TAT) for the identical used to take three-4 days – from the person importing files and asking for a loan to signing the agreement and receiving the cash. As consistent with Alok, the TAT has now been decreased to equal-day loans with the use of India stack – (PAN Card+ Aadhaar+ KYC).

The latest vertical that Indifi is tackling, ecommerce, has the equal quick-term operating capital necessities as the travel companies and so the same policies apply. The records companions for etailers are Pine Labs and First Date They offer credit score card terminals to the outlets and help in tracking the extent of business to be able to examine stability and hazard.

Past And Current Challenges Faced By Indifi In The Fintech Arena

Indifi has been one of these startups that was capable of increase investment whilst the platform turned into nonetheless being launched. It raised an undisclosed amount in September 2015 from Accel Partners and Elevar Equity and a Series B spherical of $10 Mn in a while led by means of Omidyar Network. But, as every entrepreneur well worth his salt is aware of, investment is just one a part of the juggernaut and there are middle challenges that also want to be tackled for a startup to scale in scope.

“Like most untried companies, our first challenge, some thing we warfare with even now could be to prove the enterprise version – each in terms of users and revenue,” Alok says. “But being inside the fintech enterprise, our second most important challenge is to convince banks and NBFCs to not have a look at SMBs as one big sector, but instead to consciousness on each phase and resolve for them.”

The release of the product and the constant uptick of borrowers supposed that the crew may want to technique large banks and display viability. This resulted in in banks along with YES Bank, RBL and IDFC coming onboard as lenders. On the NBFC the front, IndiaInfoline, Capital First, Aditya Birla Finance are the companions along side aforementioned Edelweiss.

The average ticket size is INR 5 Lakhs for a duration of 12 months, with the lien being legitimate for a yr and the mortgage amount to be had for disbursement as in keeping with the borrower’s wishes.

The different mission that Alok mentions changed into getting the facts companions to return onboard, in particular for the very first vertical – tour organizations. “For the travel records companions, the manner we defined it to them turned into that the extra sound the records, the more credit score the organizations could avail of, which supposed that the capital might be used often to buy greater tickets, ensuring extra enterprise.”

Indifi: The Road Ahead

Perhaps, it's miles this degree of transparency and phase-smart approach that has accounted for the 15%-20% M-o-M increase for Indifi inside the ultimate year, as well as 10x boom on their preliminary user base, as tested by means of the wide variety of loans disbursed – 2,000.

Indifi’s cutting-edge challenges include tackling the most modern vertical they have entered – used automobile dealership financing. As properly as identifying destiny verticals a good way to enjoy the Indifi platform with focussing on scale and scope of the identical.

Fintech startups including Capital Float, Lendingkart (which lately raised $7.7 Mn from YES Bank), Rubique, CrediMantri, Monexo are opposition for Indifi. As are their own lending companions – the banks and NBFCs, all trying a percentage of the multibillion dollar fintech pie. But Alok demurs as he says, “Online lending is a completely complicated area and so the perception of competition and collaboration is all blended up. Our lenders are also our competitors in a way, due to the fact we're all trying to give loans to the SMBs. But NBFCs, banks and fintech systems all shape a part of the environment and given the dimensions of this market, we are seeking to deal with the pain factor with the aid of solving for specific target segments.”

Also Read:- Two Indian-origin entrepreneurs figure in Fortune’s ’40 Under 40? influencer’s list

This is the roadmap that the 60-member Indifi team is choosing to observe – to perfect execution even as following the equal template ofrendering greater statistics partnerships, expanding to greater cities and onboarding more debtors and greater creditors.

Editor’s Note

The fintech vertical, by its very nature of concerning finance and era, is one of the freshest sectors in India. It currently bills for a $1.2 Bn marketplace, this is expected to double up to $2.4 Bn via 2020, according to a document with the aid of MAPE Advisory Group and consulting firm MXV. The November eight demonetisation drive has additionally spiked the wide variety of users across one of a kind fintech niches – inclusive of P2P transactions, on-line wallets, wealth control and more. Fintech looks to leverage upon present desires and solve for very actual ache factors – that of turning each unmarried transaction digital, appropriately.

In the sector of capital lending, companies which includes Indifi, Capital Float, Lendingkart and more have tapped into the burgeoning SMB section of India, which has similarly been delicate through Indifi’s vertical-facing approach. Through its business version that focusses on each of these verticals and organises capital lending for the truncated desires of its borrowers, Indifi has been able to obtain growth in a quick period of time. But, the fintech market is speedy-becoming oversaturated with gamers speaking to and over one another when reaching the quit-client.

How Indifi manages to disburse loans at scale, all throughout the u . S . A ., even as maintaining its position of being attentive to detail will determine the development of its graph in the fintech lending area.

Author Biography.

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