With more than 2,100 fintech companies and one of the highest fintech adoption rates in the world, India is a global fintech powerhouse, a position it earned thanks to pioneering digital infrastructure initiatives, a dynamic venture capital (VC) landscape, and favorable demographics, including a young, digital savvy population, and rising middle class.
Globally, investors are bullish on the prospect of fintech in India, having poured billions into the space. Data from Invest India, the national investment promotion and facilitation agency, show that fintech funding surpassed US$8 billion in 2021, pushing startup valuation to new heights. Today, the country is home to no less than 17 fintech unicorns worth US$1 billion and over.
But besides these industry leaders, a horde of smaller, yet fast-growing startups, are making their presence known, witnessing strong growth and traction from investors worldwide.
The Digital Fifth, a fintech consulting firm in India, has released its selection of the top ten most promising fintech startups in India for 2022, recognizing these companies for the convenience of their digital solutions, for providing superior customer experiences, and for being pioneers in their respective industries.
Launched in 2015, Cashfree Payments is a payment and banking technology company, based out of Bangalore. It provides a complete payment platform helping businesses collect and send money, offering services including payment collections, vendor payouts, wage payouts, instant loan disbursements, e-commerce refunds, insurance claims processing, expense reimbursements, loyalty, and rewards payments.
Cashfree Payments serves over 100,000 merchants, including Cred, Zomato, Xiaomi and Tencent, and processes US$20 billion in payments annually. The company has businesses across eight different geographies including the US, Canada and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Cashfree Payments raised US$200 million in June 2021, which it said it will use to ramp up its payments infrastructure and invest in growth.
Founded in 2017 and based in Chennai, CredAvenue is a leading online lending specialist. The company operates five main platforms aimed at catering to every requirement of both borrowers and investors: CredLoan, a business lending platform; CredCoLend, an origination platform for banks and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) for co-lending partnerships; Plutus, a bond issuance and investment platform for institutional and retail participants; CredSCF, a supply chain platform; and CredPool, an end-to-end securitization and portfolio buyouts.
To date, the company has facilitated transactions worth ~US$9 billion, and has engaged with 1,500+ institutional borrowers, 750+ investors, and 1 million+ end retail borrowers.
CredAvenue is backed by prominent investors including Sequoia Capital and LightSpeed. In September 2021, the company raised a US$90 million Series A equity funding round at a US$410 million valuation.
Founded in 2019 and based in Mumbai, GetVantage is a financing platform offering growth capital to digital-first businesses including e-commerce entrepreneurs and startups across India and Southeast Asia.
GetVantage uses a proprietary machine learning (ML)-based credit decision engine, and a deal management system to evaluate and gauge a company’s future revenue performance, and offers a term sheet based on its findings. Funding ticket sizes can go up to US$500,000, according to its website.
So far, the startup has funded more than 100 founders, including brands across e-commerce, and direct-to-consumer (D2C) categories. GetVantage has raised US$5 million in funding, according the Digital Fifith.
Founded in 2021 and headquartered in Bengaluru, Hyperface is the developer of a card platform designed to simplify credit card issuance for fintech and e-commerce firms. The company offers customizable software development kits (SDKs) and application programming interface (APIs) to allow customers to design credit card programs and manage the entire customer experience, from know-your-customer (KYC) requirements to loyalty programs, helping businesses to launch credit card programs in only a few weeks.
Hyperface raised US$1.3 million in October 2021 which it said it will use to strengthen its tech platform and launch card programs, as well as hiring and growth.
Mahila Money is the digital banking arm of Sheroes, a Delhi-based women-only social network. Mahila Money offers small business loans and other financial services to women and female micro-entrepreneurs. Funding ticking sizes vary from US$135 to US$2,693, doesn’t require collateral nor a co-guarantor, and the application process is done entirely online.
Since launching last year, Mahila Money has grown into a community of 150,000+ women, and has inked partnerships with banks and NFBCs including Transcorp, Visa, My Shubh Life, Avail Finance, and Shivalik Bank.
Founded in 2020 and headquartered in Bengaluru, Multipl provides a mobile app that allows users to invest their savings in mutual funds and other market instruments for foreseeable spends.
Multipl also partners with lifestyle brands to provide customers with exclusive offers on travel, jewelry, bike, home furnishing, career courses, electronics, and more. In addition, it has a loyalty program that rewards customers every time they reach a saving milestones with so-called Mbits rewards which can be redeemed from over 200 brands including Amazon, Myntra and Jio-Saavn.
As of November 2021, the app had seen more than 10,000 downloads on the Google Play Store, and users had set savings goals worth more than US$3.3 million.
Founded in 2020, Onsurity is a heathtech startup providing monthly, comprehensive employee healthcare to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), micro-businesses, startups and growing businesses.
Onsurity’s monthly-based plans under TeamSure include benefits like group health insurance, discounts on medicine orders and health check-ups, fitness rewards, doctor teleconsultation, and much more. The subscription plans are offered not only to full-time employees but also to contractors, interns and consultants.
The company claims to serve more than 1,000+ SMEs, startups and emerging businesses. It raised US$16 million in a Series A in August 2021.
Founded in 2015 and headquartered in Bangalore, Smallcase is a wealthtech startup that provides an online trading platform. The company has an in-house team of licensed professionals who offer more than 100 portfolios of stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) for investors to invest in. It also offers access to independent investment managers, brokerages and wealth platforms.
Smallcase supports a dozen leading stock brokers in India, including Upstox and Kite.
The company has attracted over 3 million users who transact US$2.5 billion each year. It closed a US$40 million Series C funding round in August 2021, bringing its total funding to more than US$65 million.
Based in Pune and founded in 2019, FPL Technologies is a fintech startup specializing in consumer credit. In 2019, the company launched OneScore, a digital credit score platform offering free credit score checks and personalized insights. In 2020, it introduced OneCard, a credit card that works alongside a mobile app to allow customers to lock their card, manage their features and active services, pay their bills, and more.
FTP Technologies closed a US$75 million Series C funding round in January 2022 at a post-money valuation of US$750 million. The round brought the total amount of money raised by the startup to US$125 million.
Founded in 2020, Zolve is a neobanking startup targeting migrant workers. The startup, which launched full scale services in September 2021, currently serves the India-US corridor, providing immigrants bound to the US with access to bank accounts, high-limit credit cards, and debit cards on the basis of their home country credit score while they are still in their home countries.
Zolve strives to become a full-stack financial services provider with products focused on instant remittance, insurance, and loans in the pipeline.
As of October 2021, the startup had rolled out its credit card to 2,000 customers. Zolve closed a US$40 million Series A funding round in October 2021 at a US$210 million valuation. The round brought the total funding raised by the startup to US$55 million.