Yes Bank to invest in startups


India's fifth-largest private sector lender Yes Bank is likely to make equity investments in startups enrolling in its Yes: Head-Startup programme in the future, a senior executive told Techcircle.in.

"Yes Bank will look at equity investments on a case-to-case basis and within regulatory guidelines," said Ritesh Pai, senior president and country head, digital banking, Yes Bank.

The programme was launched last week in partnership with News Corp VCCircle's training unit to help select training programmes and nominate team members to build a talent pool with relevant functional knowledge. Startups can avail themselves of the programmes as per the training calendar planned for the year at a discounted price.

The bank will only consider startups younger than five years with an annual turnover of less than Rs 25 crore. Also, the startups must have already received funding or should be recognised by an incubator or Department of Industrial Policy and Promotions (DIPP). The bank's in-house investment banking team will help startups raise funding.

Around 10 startups have already signed up with the bank for the programme. These include app-based utility services provider Bucker.in and robotics platform Robofest, Pai stated in an email response.

Yes Bank has also partnered with Indian Angel Network (IAN) for funding and mentoring opportunities for startups.

With this initiative, the private lender joins at least three other banks which have created tailor-made programmes for startups.

In March, HDFC Bank, as part of its Digital Innovation Summit, selected five startups with which it will partner to integrate technology.

HDFC Bank shortlisted startups including Senseforth Technologies, an AI-powered big data analysis firm; Tagnpin, a customer engagement firm that offers referral marketing software; and Net Vigial Software, a mobile payments firm.

In June, Axis Bank launched an incubation centre for fintech startups in Bangalore. It partnered with Mumbai-based startup accelerator ZoneStartups to manage its accelerator programme. The solutions that the startups will create will address problem statements issued by Axis Bank.

In January, State Bank of India, India's largest public sector lender, launched an incubation centre to collaborate with fintech startups. As part of the initiative, startups have to devise solutions for the bank and they will be provided physical infrastructure at the bank's branches.

In the case of Yes Bank, the lender will look to partner with fintech startups and incorporate their technologies, Pai said. It is also open to acquiring the startups on a case-to-case basis and within regulatory guidelines, Pai added.

Yes Bank has also tied up with co-working space Awfis, Indian School of Design and Innovation (ISDI) and Telengana-based T-Hub, which provides support to startups for a fee.

The bank also formed a partnership with Registrationwala to enable entrepreneurs to register startups.

The Yes: Head-StartUp programme aims at offering  current account, digital and cash management solutions, trade-forex advisory services, startup-focused branches, personal banking products like credit cards and loan products (business and personal), among others, for startups.

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