New Delhi based micro-loan startup AyeFinance has raised $103m in Series B funding led by LGT Impact Ventures, SAIF Partners and Accion. The two-year-old company offers financing to small businesses across India that would otherwise not appear on the radar of banks and traditional financing institutions.
Founders Sanjay Sharma and Vikram Jetley are former bankers who returned to India with the intention of starting a project with “social impact.” Sharma told TechCrunch in an interview that typical loans are 200,000-300,000 INR ($2,900-$4,400) in size, and are aimed at businesses and business owners who aren’t able to raise capital through regular channels. That doesn’t just mean Aye Finance goes below the level of banks and loan firms, it also targets customers that, he said, are below the radar of e-commerce businesses like Flipkart, which offer floats to support micro-entrepreneurs making a living on their platform. “How do you underwrite [a business owner] when they don’t have documents that classic finance companies are used to seeing, while they do not maintain tax returns or book?” Sharma said of the challenge.