In a bid to strengthen its personal loans offering, online MSME lender Lendingkart has acquired Mumbai-based fintech Upwards.
The cash-and-stocks deal was pegged at Rs 100-120 crore, Founder and CEO Harshvardhan Lunia told YourStory.
With the acquisition, Lendingkart, which focuses on providing credit to MSMEs and small businesses through its NBFC arm, Lendingkart Finance Limited, is now looking to build up its personal loan offering via Upwards’s network and tech stack.
“The acquisition will give us more leeway to offer personal loans. We saw an incoming demand for personal loans from employees and contractors related to the MSMEs we offer business loans to and decided to acquire Upwards,” said Harshvardhan, who had been a mentor to the company in the past.
Founded in 2017 by Abhishek Soni and Nimesh Verma, Upwards offers personal loans to salaried professionals through its proprietary technology platform, which uses complex algorithms to analyse over 500 data points from a wide range of sources to underwrite and disburse loans.
The startup, backed by investors such as Shunwei Capital, India Quotient, and Mayfield Fund, says it has disbursed over Rs 500 crore worth of loans.
Besides its in-house credit platform, Lendingkart has been growing its platform business, via Lendingkart Technologies, by providing APIs (application programming interface) and software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform XLr8 to banks, NBFCs and other partners to help them build and extend credit lines.
It says it has as many as 20 partners in the segment and is looking to boost it further.
As per the CEO, the latest acquisition will add on to its tech capabilities and scale. “Upwards has the best-in-class lending capabilities for its target marketplace in providing personal loans. With this partnership, it will be aptly positioned to execute its strategy of helping customers smoothly obtain personal loans,” he added.
“Upwards has created a strong credit product for the low-income segment. With Lendingkart’s credit, capital and distribution capability, we plan to deepen our presence across the country to bridge the massive credit gap in the personal loan market in India,” Abhishek, Co-founder at Upwards said.
Founded in 2014 by Harshvardhan and Mukul Sachin, LendingKart Group is backed by international investors like Fullerton Financial Holding (a subsidiary of Singapore Sovereign Fund Temasek Holdings), Bertelsmann, Mayfield India, Sam Capital, Sistema Asia, India Quotient, and others and has raised around Rs 1,050 crore of equity to date.
The company says it has evaluated over two lakh applications, disbursing over 11,500 crore loans, to more than 1.6 lakh MSMEs.
In 2018, the company ‘acquihired’ KountMoney, an online lending marketplace for personal loans, to boost its technology and data analytics capabilities besides developing more efficient and consumer-centric product offerings.
LendingKart also aims to tap the salaried loans segment in the future, the CEO said.