BCI launches digital lending platform for SME loans
In an announcement made by fintech startup Bluecell Intelligence (BCI), the company reports its plans to enter the Singapore market.
The company’s ambitions for entering the market include driving the consolidation of the region's fragmented lending ecosystem by providing a new online platform for loan dealings.
The end-to-end lending platform aims to provide a better solution and efficient system to support SMEs, lenders and loan consultants throughout the entire process.
Challenges faced by SMEs
“Bluecell has been proactive in understanding the pain points and difficulties faced by Borrowers, Lenders, and Brokers during the SME loan process and hence deviced a platform to cater to their problems and provide a solution which integrates all the intermediaries together through a common platform,” stated BCI in a company statement.
The company reports from its experience in the lending industry, that many SMEs who aspire to grow and digital transform lack the necessary financial awareness to understand the processes involved. “They might be unaware of alternative financing options available in the market. Other tasks such as checking loan eligibility, applying for a loan, or negotiating with multiple lenders at the same time effectively also prevents SMEs from receiving financing. The often complex and lengthy document submission to different lenders further complicates acquiring financing,” added BCI.
Other concerns posed by BCI include the limited reach capabilities of lenders who do not have a centralised system to access larger markets.
“The reliance on manual document processing lengthens the process of loan application such as checking loan applications that don't meet underwriting criteria leads to resubmissions. Verification of submitted financial documents also delays loan processing time,” noted BCI.
In addition, brokers who use multiple channels experience communication inefficiencies between brokers and lenders as a result.
“ Information from varied sources limits brokers' ability to stay up to date with the current lending criteria or policies. Brokers also have limited contact with new lenders due to evolving players in the market and various financing options,” said BCI.
With these challenges in mind, BCI’s ambitions to enter the Singapore market, by providing a new online platform for loan dealings, is expected to provide a centralised ecosystem for borrowers, lenders and consultants.
Timeline: India takes unicorn leap with six in five days
We chart an historic week in India’s tech industry, where in just five days, between 5-9 April 2021, the country achieved six new unicorns, bringing India’s total to 10 in 2021 to date, an immense unicorn leap from just seven in 2020 and six in 2019.
April 5: Meesho
India’s first social commerce unicorn, Meesho raised US$300m from SoftBank, Facebook and Shunwei Capital, giving the Bangalore-based startup a US$2.1bn valuation, a threefold jump from its previous funding round in 2019. Founded in 2015 by two IIT-Delhi graduates, Meesho connects producers and resellers, helping small businesses sell through social media. It has 45m customers and has enabled 13m entrepreneurs to start their online businesses with no investment.
April 6: CRED
Founded just over two years ago, Bangalore-based credit card repayment app CRED raised US$215m from Falcon Edge Capital and Coatue, nearly trebling its valuation to US$2.2bn from its January US$80m round. Allowing customers to pay off their credit card debt while earning CRED coins which they cash in for rewards, CRED has grown rapidly during COVID-19, doubling its customer base to nearly 6 million in a year.
April 7: API Holdings / Groww
The first epharmacy startup to gain unicorn status, PharmEasy (API Holdings), which has digitised 60,000 brick and mortar pharmacies and 400 doctors across India, raised US$350m in a round led by Prosus Ventures. Founded by four former Flipkart employees as a way of making investing simple, investment platform Groww became India’s second-youngest fintech unicorn, raising US$83m in Series D funding led by Tiger Global, quadrupling its previous round in September.
April 8: ShareChat
New Delhi-grown social media startup ShareChat, founded in 2016 by Mohalla Tech raised US$502m from Lightspeed Ventures, Tiger Global, Twitter and Snap taking its raised total over six rounds to US$766m and pushing its valuation to US$2.1bn. The funding will be used to grow its user base and short video platform Moj, which launched in 2020 following TikTok’s ban in India. The regional language startup claims 280m users.
April 9: Gupshup
AI-led conversational message startup joined the unicorn club after raising US$100m from Tiger Global giving it a ten-fold valuation of US$1.4bn. The smart messaging platform, which has seen accelerated growth during the pandemic, was founded in Bangalore in 2005 by serial entrepreneur Beerud Sheth, whose online freelancing platform Elance is now listed. Gupshup’s API enables 100,000+ businesses to build messaging and conversation experiences across 30+ communication channels.