Fintech startup SMECorner raises Series B round from new and returning investors

Fintech startup SMECorner raises Series B round from new and returning investors
Samir Bhatia, founder and CEO of SMECorner

Digikredit Finance, which owns fintech platform SMEcorner, has raised $30 million in a mix of Series B preference shares and debt capital led by private equity firm Paragon Partners.

Existing investors venture capital firms Quona Capital and Accion Venture Lab, along with some undisclosed high networth individuals (HNI) also participated in the round.

While Paragon Partners invested $10.5 million in the company, the balance funds came from existing investors and promoter Samir Bhatia, a statement said.

With the latest fundraising, the company said it has completed its Series B round. In March last year, the company raised $12.8 million in a similar equity and debt funding round led by Quona Capital.

So far, SMECorner has raised nearly $22 million, as per data compiled by VCCEdge. Other than Quona Capital and Accion Venture Lab, other investors include Capital First, Dutch Good Growth Fund and some angel investors.

Founded in 2013 by Samir Bhatia, former CEO of consumer credit reporting agency Equifax, SMECorner is a digital non-banking finance company which provides small ticket loans to small businesses with operations in 15 cities in four states. It disbursed over Rs 550 crore since it received NBFC license from the Reserve Bank of India in February 2018.

SMECorner currently has assets under management worth Rs 400 crore. It uses a combination of proprietary scorecards, unique proprietary OCR (Optical Character Recognition) tools to ensure creditworthiness and maintaining asset quality.

The company plans to use the funds raised from the latest round to scale-up operations and forge lending partnerships to drive total disbursement to Rs 1,000 crores by the end of next financial year.

“The additional capital will enable us to reach over 20,000 new customers and grow our distribution in the coming year.  We will continue to focus on building proprietary technology which will help us serve our customers more efficiently,” Bhatia, founder and CEO of SMECorner said.

SMECorner operates in a highly competitive fintech segment competing with players such as Incred, Aye Finance and Neogrowth Credit.

Last month, Accion Venture Lab sold its remaining stake in the Gurugram-based Aye Finance to A91 Partners, the venture capital firm founded last year by former Sequoia Capital India executives.

In 2019, InCred Capital, a non-banking finance company, acquired the Dubai wealth business of L&T Capital.

Started by former Actis executive Siddharth Parekh and Hover Automotive India official Sumeet Nindrajog in 2015, Paragon Partners focuses on investing in consumer discretionary, financial services, infrastructure, industrials and healthcare services. It invests through its Paragon Partners Growth Fund-I, which has a corpus of $120 million, with ticket size of $10 to $20 million.

Other than SMECorner, its portfolio consists of another fintech InCred Financial, technology-driven beverage platform Chai Point, apparel firm eShakti, exchange listed Capacite Infraprojects, engineering company Maini Precision Products and sportswear brand Cravatex.

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