The streets of Koramangala, one of many largest neighborhoods in Bangalore, are plastered with hoardings and banners of digital cost companies. Every few steps, you discover a financial institution, and workplaces of fintech startups.
But when Mohammed Nayeem needed to get a bank card, he realized his choices had been restricted. He utilized for a bank card at RBL Bank, a Mumbai-headquartered financial institution that has been round for greater than 70 years. In the times that adopted, he answered a lot of their questions over telephone calls and offered them with quite a few paperwork.
The calls stored coming, however the card by no means did.
Nayeem works as a contract inside designer and earns a median of $580 every month, he advised TechCrunch in an interview final yr. Though that is greater than sufficient for many banks within the nation to situation him a bank card, the truth that he doesn’t have a standard form of job was off-putting to all of them.
Tens of thousands and thousands of individuals like Nayeem in India immediately can’t get a bank card. They have lived a lot of their lives on debit playing cards and with little to no credit score rating. There are near 1 billion debit playing cards in use in India immediately, however solely about 50 million bank cards in circulation. Even as scores of startups immediately try to bridge this hole, only a few are serving the younger demographic.
Eventually, Nayeem got here throughout a startup referred to as Slice, which offered him with a Slice Card that for all intents and functions, serves as a bank card. For greater than a yr now, he has been utilizing Slice’s providing and his expertise has been “great,” he advised TechCrunch.
Slice affords a pay as you go card that comes with a pre-approved credit score line, Rajan Bajaj, co-founder and CEO of the four-year-old startup, advised TechCrunch in an interview. The Koramangala-headquartered startup focuses on folks like Nayeem — younger demography comprising largely of scholars, freelancers, startup staff and blue-collar employees.
Bajaj mentioned greater than 250,000 clients use Slice’s card immediately. In the course of a month, a median person performs about 10 transactions to digital companies comparable to Swiggy and music apps and spends about Rs 10,000 ($132). As customers spend extra, Slice will increase their month-to-month restrict to as much as Rs 100,000 ($1,320).
But giving these customers a card is barely a part of the worth proposition. The largest attraction maybe for customers is that they can construct credit score scores, which might ultimately make them eligible for higher bank cards from different corporations and banks, and allow them to safe loans for varied functions. In about six months with Slice, most customers have a credit score rating of greater than 700, mentioned Bajaj.
The startup additionally affords customers the flexibility to safe small sachet of mortgage merchandise and pay them at zero-cost curiosity and observe their bills.
On Thursday, Slice introduced it had raised $6 million in a pre-Series B financing spherical. The spherical was led by Japan-based Gunosy, whereas the U.S.-headquartered EMVC, Kunal Shah of CRED, Better Capital, and current investor Singapore-headquartered Das Capital participated in it. It additionally counts Blume Ventures, Traxcn Labs, and China’s Finup amongst its traders.
Bajaj mentioned Slice plans to deploy the recent capital to develop its attain. It plans to succeed in 500,000 younger clients within the subsequent one yr.
Raising capital on the top of a worldwide pandemic is a testomony to Slice’s expertise to find out the creditworthiness of shoppers and its underwriting methodology, he mentioned. But Bajaj cautioned that he expects to see barely extra variety of defaults within the coming months as a result of native circumstances and new guidelines.
But for Slice, previously often known as SlicePay, that determine would nonetheless stay beneath 5%, and the startup, which has been worthwhile since final yr, is nicely positioned to navigate it.
“We consider slice has a sustainable benefit because it has decoded younger credit score customers’ calls for and has constructed a deep understanding of credit score danger and low-cost distribution utilizing expertise,” mentioned Yuki Maniwa, Director of Gunosy, in a press release.