India initially made its title within the tech world years in the past when it staked out fame as a key hub for enterprise course of outsourcing. Now that legacy has taken a really completely different flip in fintech with outsourcing of a really completely different type, with the emergence of embedded finance expertise. Within the newest improvement, Lentra, an Indian embedded AI-based finance startup, has raised $60 million — a Sequence B that values the startup at “over $400 million,” D Venkatesh, the founder and CEO of the startup, informed TechCrunch in an interview.
Present buyers Bessemer Enterprise Companions and Susquehanna Worldwide Group (SIG) led the spherical with strategic participation additionally from Citi Ventures, a subsidiary of the New York-based funding banking big Citigroup.
That is Citi Ventures’ first funding in a fintech out of India, and this spherical general underscores how far the fintech and embedded finance ecosystem have come alongside lately. Lentra, which is worthwhile, has been rising at a really quick clip. In 2019, its first yr of operations, it registered $1 million from its “annual consumption price” — this time period pertains to the quantity of income Lentra makes based mostly on utilization of its APIs. As of this yr, that determine is as much as $10 million, and it’s projected to hit $100 million in 2024.
The Mumbai-based startup works with business banks to energy their digital mortgage companies. HDFC Financial institution, Federal Financial institution, Customary Chartered and IDFC First Financial institution are a few of its key prospects. Total, Lentra has greater than 50 shoppers and has processed over 13 billion transactions and $21 billion value of loans since its launch. Venkatesh mentioned the startup achieved all this progress with out hiring a single gross sales govt till April this yr.
The corporate’s mission shouldn’t be not like that of a lot of different fintechs which have thrown their hats into the ring to work with — slightly than fully upend and disrupt — legacy monetary companies suppliers, which have discovered themselves unable to maintain up with innovation from sooner shifting, tech based mostly rivals.
“We wish to assist and empower the banks, who’re our shoppers, to lend higher, lend fully on a digital platform and enhance on all parameters,” mentioned Venkatesh.
These parameters are the identical for banks the world over. Sure, banks wish to lend extra, and to be extra accessible to extra potential debtors — therefore shifting to digital platforms to assist them scale and compete higher towards digital-first choices. However banks have had their ft burned many a time already: they don’t wish to tackle a load of dangerous debt within the strategy of scaling, so that they want higher tech to enhance how they vet debtors, and likewise to have a greater grip on forecasting what they could count on to get in returns (and losses) because of this.
The four-year-old fintech helps them do that by way of quite a lot of mortgage instruments. Lentra Lending Cloud, which provides ready-to-use third-party API connectors to varied information sources, in addition to a Mortgage Administration System (LMS) and a no-code Enterprise guidelines engine (BREx) with modules for shoppers to make use of out-of-the-box. The startup additionally has a platform referred to as GoNoGo in its catalog that helps banks verify whether or not a mortgage needs to be given to a buyer as soon as they get their utility.
Venkatesh mentioned that in India, 90% of lending frauds happen by means of ID proof thefts, the place dangerous actors impersonate somebody with a greater credit score file to get a mortgage shortly. Lentra makes use of AI to triangulate information to establish potential fraud makes an attempt.
“For those who clear up ID theft fraud, you reduce the method or the stance that the financial institution could have in direction of a non-performing asset or dangerous mortgage,” the founder mentioned.
He claimed whereas banks had solely been in a position to whittle down the mortgage course of — making use of, processing and approving or denying purposes — to between six and 7 days, Lentra’s expertise has decreased that turnaround to a couple seconds.
Regardless that a lot of startups are attempting to ease lending for banks, apparently Lentra sees Salesforce as one among its greatest rivals in terms of mortgage origination.
“Our primary goal is anybody who’s utilizing Salesforce for mortgage origination. We go, latch on to them, after which we convert them,” Venkatesh mentioned.
Citi isn’t just concerned about tapping extra into India’s tech ecosystem, however to leverage it for its personal world progress, too.
“Lentra is our first fintech funding in India, and we’re very excited concerning the crew’s capacity to develop and scale low-friction software program options for lenders,” mentioned Everett Leonidas, Director & APAC Lead Investor for Citi Ventures, in an announcement. “As a world financial institution, we look ahead to Lentra scaling their merchandise and platform internationally.”
Venkatesh informed TechCrunch that Lentra plans to make the most of the funding to proceed updating its platform, add new options and make it extra strong and sooner. The startup can also be set to develop past India and set up its enterprise outdoors the nation, beginning with three economies in Asia: Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. Publish the preliminary enlargement, the startup plans to transcend Asia and enter the U.S.
Places of work within the three new Asian international locations will change into operational beginning as early as January, the founder mentioned.
Lentra already has its presence in Singapore because it acquired an AI startup TheDataTeam in June this yr that had an workplace within the Lion Metropolis. Venkatesh mentioned that the workplace in Singapore would change into the car for the startup to enter the ASEAN economies.
Alongside enhancing the providing and increasing the enterprise, Lentra has plans to accumulate complementary companies. The founder informed TechCrunch that its acquisition plans concentrate on three areas — robotic course of automation, fee programs or options that aren’t regulated entities and groups engaged on statistical modeling or constructing heuristics mannequin inside statistics.
“Lentra is empowering lenders to gas the desires of tens of millions with efficient monetary inclusion and credit score decisioning,” mentioned Vishal Gupta, Associate at Bessemer Enterprise Companions. “We had been actually impressed with the mixture of their expertise prowess and the business benefit that Lentra is delivering to their shoppers. We look ahead to serving to them proceed to realize their imaginative and prescient of changing into essentially the most trusted and wanted cloud-native digital lending platform, empowering shoppers in democratizing credit score by way of correct decisioning and fast processing.”
Lentra additionally has HDFC Financial institution as an investor, although it didn’t take part within the newest funding spherical. Venkatesh mentioned that the financial institution may have invested but it surely didn’t this time because it needed to observe the Reserve Financial institution of India’s situation of not holding greater than 10% in unrelated companies as a result of merging with HDFC Group.
The startup at present has Mumbai as its primary market, adopted by Delhi, Chennai and Bengaluru. It has a crew of 500 folks that’s aimed to develop to 800 to help the continuing plans.

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