Fosun-backed fintech startup Kissht will now lend directly to customers

Fosun-backed fintech startup Kissht will now lend directly to customers
Kissht targets individuals who do not otherwise get credit from traditional lenders, says founder Krishnan Vishwanathan
26 Feb, 2018

OnEMi Technology Solutions Pvt. Ltd, which runs lending startup Kissht, has set up an in-house non-banking finance company (NBFC) and is also in the process of launching its own credit cards, the company's founder Krishnan Vishwanathan told TechCircle.

Founded by Vishwanathan in 2015, Kissht targets individuals who do not otherwise get credit from traditional lenders. It offers pre-approved credit to customers in the form of an EMI card, which can be used across partner merchants to make purchases at digital points of sale both online and at physical stores.

Through its in-house NBFC, which was launched last month, Vishwanathan said the company will be able to cater to customers outside of its existing partner merchants. 

Kissht has in the process joined a host of fintech companies diversifying into full-service lending after starting out as aggregators relying on partnerships with NBFCs and banks. 

Several online aggregators are also tapping into the ever-growing demand from small and medium enterprises (SMEs) through the launch of in-house NBFCs.

As part of its expansion plans, the Mumbai-based fintech firm plans to   kick off the process in three to four months for raising $25-30 million in a Series C round. Vishwanathan said the company plans to secure the funding within a year. 

The company will use the funds to invest in technology, research, develop a loyalty programme, hire talent, increase product portfolio and as capital for loan deployment. 

The firm will be on the road to profitablity once this funding takes place, he added.

Kissht had raised $10 million last November in a round led by Chinese investment conglomerate Fosun International. 

It had secured $2 million earlier in the year from Hyderabad-based early-stage venture capital firm Endiya Partners and Bengaluru's Ventureast.
Kissht is also in the process of offering its own credit cards which can be used across sellers, The credit card offerings will also target a new-to-credit customer base, which primarily consists of credit seekers. This is in contrast to current trend where people use credit cards as another payment product, Vishwanathan added.

"We are seeing a large white space in the market. About 80% of the credit card users in the market see the card as another form of payment product. They are not the credit seekers," Vishwanathan said. "Hence we are catering to an unaddressed customer base in the low-income category and are first-time credit seekers." 

The two-year-old company also plans to launch its portal in regional languages. Vishwanathan said its products are primarily used by first-time credit seekers, with about 60% of new customers joining through the online route.

Kissht gets 60,000-70,000 new customers every month and disburses 10,000-12,000 loans with an average business growth of 30-40% per month.
It expects to increase its new customer acquisition by six to seven times within a year.

The average loan size is around Rs 20,000-25,000 for an average tenure of six to nine months.

The majority of its customers are younger than 30 and earn between Rs 10,000-Rs 45,000 per month.

Vishwanathan said the firm offers these loans through its trade partners, thereby negating the risk of the loan money being used for other undisclosed purposes.

However, Kissht operates on a revenue-sharing model with its trade partners and will be able to offer better deals only through its own listed sellers, he added.

Most customers take loans for consumer durables, with home furnishing, kitchen appliances, medical and educational requirements among the other popular categories.

Kissht, which has 160 employees, currently has acceptance at more than 50 online portals and more than 2,000 offline point of sales. Its partners include Carat Lane, Wonderchef, Prestige, Gitanjali Jewels, Blue Star, EXIDE, Standard Chartered, SBI Card, Intex, among others.