TAMIL NADU: The IIT Madras Research Park (IITMRP) is nurturing, hand holding and churning out some of the most innovative startups in the Fintech space with an aim to strengthen financial inclusion in the country. The park currently associates with over 12 firms in this space like Kaleidofin, Dvara Holdings, CredAvenue, Northern Arc Capital Limited and Samunnati among others. While a few of them have been incubated at the research park itself some of them have been incubated through partner incubators.

“While some have a micro-finance focus, most are focused on products that look at innovative ways to serve the low-income segment whether they are individuals, farmers, women and more. Each of the startups who are a part of our ecosystem has diverse financial services with a mission to ensure that every individual and enterprise has complete access to financial services,” said Prof. Jhunjhunwala, the President of IITMRP.

Each of these startups are working in different segments but their ultimate goal is to ensure that everyone, especially those in the rural pockets, have access to financial services and products. For instance, Kaleidofin, this startup offers simple, well-designed advice based financial solutions to address the needs of 600-800 million under banked customers. According to its founders, Sucharita Mukherjee and Puneet Gupta, even though 80% of Indians today have a bank account, nearly 38% of the total accounts continue to be inactive. Physical access to bank branches and lack of understanding of products continue to be two primary reasons for low usage of formal financial products.

Another firm called Vest-in-Villages is working towards financial inclusion, which provides an easy-to-use scalable credit scoring and tracking tool used for providing credit to unbanked small and marginal farmers, measure their performance and impact of credit. There are firms that are keen on helping migrant workers too. Agami Fintech, one of the newest incubatees at the park, is building a Fintech SaaS platform and mobile app that brings millions of Indians, in particular migrant workers, casual labourers and domestic service providers, into an organized financial system. Currently, Agami’s product is under pilot testing at a few sites and the firm intends to bring out its completed solution during this quarter. There are firms like Samunnati and Agrosperity Tech Solutions Private Limited who are working on providing financial solutions to the farming fraternity.

These firms have also caught the attention of investors from across the globe. For instance, early this year Kaleidofin raised its series B from Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and a select group of high-net-worth individuals. Another firm called CredAvenue, which is building a marketplace for enterprises looking to raise any kind of debt at the right price from the right lenders, has also raised its series A and B funding from global Venture Capital and Private Equity firms.

Prof. Jhunjhunwala said, “Over the last 10 years, we have developed one of the strongest ecosystems of companies and startups driving Financial Inclusion in India and hence are well placed to drive concerted efforts for inclusion in India. “Our goal is to now make India one of the strongest “Fintech for Inclusion” hubs in the world by 2030 by driving two main areas of finance – Personal Finance and finance for MSMEs,” he added.

Author: Sangeetha Kandavel
July 2nd, 2022
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