Bengaluru headquartered Shuhari Tech Ventures, which owns and operates online small loans platform NIRA, has raised $2.1 million in a bridge round, dubbed a ‘pre-Series A’ round, from undisclosed new and returning angel investors based out of Europe and India.
The capital infusion comes more than a year after the company raised $1 million in a seed funding round from UK-based angel investors in October 2018.
“We are delighted to move to the next phase of our journey with this new raise. While we did get offers for funding from a couple of venture capitalists, we decided to stick to our existing investors and take more time to find the right long-term partners,” Rohit Sen, co-founder and CEO of NIRA, said.
The company plans to use the fresh capital to improve loan volumes and technology stack, and acquire talent as well, a statement said.
“In the past 12 months, we have found a good product-market fit, so now we want to build on this strong foundation to scale our business,” Sen said.
Founded in 2018, NIRA provides loans of up to Rs 1 lakh to blue- and grey-collared workers with a tenure of up to one year, via its app-based credit line. It claims to have operations in more than 100 cities in India. Federal Bank, the credit partner of the startup, charges interest rates in the range of 1.5-2.25% a month.
Sen founded NIRA with fellow former Goldman Sachs colleague Nupur Gupta. Sen, who holds degrees from Oxford University and London School of Economics, has worked with Bank of America and Meryll Lynch. Gupta, a IIT Delhi and University of Waterloo graduate, has worked with Citigroup.
NIRA operates in the same space as Vertex Ventures-backed Kissht, SuperMoney, Slice, LoanTap and Propelld.
In 2019, Kissht raised around $7 million from Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal, while LoanTap, a lending platform for salaried professionals, raised $12 million from private equity firm Avana Capital and others.
In February this year, SuperMoney, which offers financial products to blue-collared workers, raised $1 million from early-stage venture fund Unitus Ventures.
Deal-making in the fintech is booming, with several deals going through in April despite overall slowdown due to the Covid-19 lockdown. Prominent deals in the segment include FingPay, Capital Float, Aye Finance, YAP and Setu.