Early-stage fintech startups Impact Micro Ventures, mPokket to get funding

Early-stage fintech startups Impact Micro Ventures, mPokket to get funding
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20 Mar, 2018

Impact Micro Ventures and mPokket - both early-stage fintech startups - will receive offers of $50,000 (Rs 32.5 lakh) each from US-headquartered venture capital firm Village Capital.

The startups were selected at the end of an India-focused investment-readiness programme run by Village Capital with support from Paypal, BlackRock and FMO.

The startups will receive the investment offer from VilCap Investments, the venture capital fund affiliated with Village Capital.

Village Capital said in a statement that 11 fintech startups had participated in the three-month programme to build India-specific solutions focusing on financial health.

Impact Micro Ventures and mPokket were picked by their peers through a process where entrepreneurs take a call on investments.

Bengaluru-based Impact Micro Ventures uses big data to help unbanked micro-enterprises access financing and improve their cash flow. The startup was founded last year by Manish Khera and Pranay Bhargava.

Khera has served at chief executive officer at Fino PayTech and CEO at Airtel Payments Bank, while Bhargava has more than 15 years of experience in promoting rural entrepreneurship.

"We have spent last five years in rural India while creating an alternative data model for MSME lending. The programme has helped accelerate us towards our goal of reaching out to one million micro-enterprises by 2023," said Bhargava.

Kolkata-based mPokket provides micro-loans via a mobile app. The company was founded in 2016 by Gaurav Jalan and Samarjit Choudhury.

Jalan served as chief investment officer at Avant Garde Wealth Management and as an investment analyst at Fidelity Internartional. Samarjit has previously worked with organisations such as Standard Chartered Bank and Axis Bank.

Loans4SME and GumptionLabs were selected at last year's fintech programme.

Village Capital
Village Capital is a social investor that aims to connect early-stage and inclusion-focused entrepreneurs with institutions and capital. It claims to have supported more than 1,000 entrepreneurs since 2009 through its programmes and made seed investments in more than 90 startups.

Village Capital’s India office has run 13 programmes that have eventually led to 13 seed-stage investments from Village Capital’s affiliated venture fund,.

“Rising smartphone use and an increasing focus on unbanked individuals and small retailers have created opportunities for startups to innovate and fill important gaps.,” said Deepak Menon, Regional Director, Village Capital.

Village Capital had last December invested in two Indian ed-tech startups — Logic Roots and Project Mudra.
PayPal, which supported Village Capital's programme, had launched its domestic operations in India last November and had set up two innovation labs for fintech a few months before that.