Of the different categories of loans that can be drawn by companies, an unsecured loan can often prove to be the best option, thanks to the flexibility and quick turnaround time it offers. In this article, we will look at the pros and cons of unsecured loans.
For Shailesh Jacob, co-founder of the Gurgaon-based Loan Frame, starting a lending marketplace for SMEs was more than a big opportunity — it was also about contributing to the overall economy. According to the Ministry of MSMEs, the sector contributes around 38% to the GDP and provides the largest share of employment, after agriculture. “In India you have over 50 million SMEs and credit penetration is less than 10%,” Jacob points out. In August 2015, he launched Loan Frame partnering with around 20 lenders.
For any business in general, and for small and medium businesses, finance is one of the most important aspects under perpetual consideration. After all, money is vital to keep the wheel turning and for the day to day operations to take place without any issues. While large businesses have multiple ways to keep the lights on, small businesses must often rely on loans to take them through lean times, or when money is needed for business operations.
Founded in August 2015, Loan Frame is a fintech SME lending marketplace focused on solving the financing problem for millions of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in India. Loan Frame enables SME lending through partner lenders, by providing them the technology to efficiently originate and assess small business borrowers.
- Shailesh Jacob, Founder and CEO
- Rishi Arya, Co-Founder and CFO
- Akshun Gulati, Co-Founder and Head Corporate Development
Start date: January 2016 | Location: Gurgaon | Fund Raised since starting up: $2.25 million | Employees: 30+
India is currently one of the most active FinTech markets in the world. It has drawn the maximum investments in the sector, along with China. Two important missions led by the Government of India, one of Financial Inclusion and the other of a Digital India, are driving innovation. Though it maybe a challenge to turn India into a completely cashless economy, given it’s sheer size of population and scattered geography, digital payments has grown quickly – thanks to the rapid growth in smartphone and e-commerce penetration. A country where cash had usually been the go to mode of transactions, a digital world of financial services have found a place to thrive.
In the last couple of years, the alternative lending space has literally exploded. With the growing shift to digital, fintech companies are leveraging technology to innovate and disrupt traditional business models.
Founded in 2015, loan aggregator firm, Loan Frame is one such innovator which has found a unique niche to operate in – a niche which offers value alike to funds-starved small and medium enterprises and the banks and financial institutions.
Here, in a chat with ETCFO’s Mannu Arora, Rishi Arya, CFO and Co-Founder & Shailesh Jacob, Co-Founder and CEO, of the Gurugram-based online lending firm take a few questions about the finance function especially in start-ups, fintech and their business too.
For the past 50 years, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) have powered India’s economy, especially in rural and semi-urban areas. But they often fail to get adequate financial support from government agencies, banks and financial institutions, according to the SME Chamber of India.
India’s booming fintech market could be their savior.
The startup world may never ride the high waves of 2015 but 2017 proved that big ticket funding is not a thing of the past. After a year of drought in 2016, the stars of the Indian startup ecosystem came back to prove they still possess the confidence of the investors.
However, the downtrend of 2016 did result in substantial cutback on their valuations. While Flipkart ended its drought with $1.4 billion from Tencent, Microsoft, eBay, and Naspers in April this year at a reduced valuation of $11.6 billion (from $15 billion), Ola raised $404 million from Falcon Capital and Softbank Group a few days later at a reduced valuation of $3 billion (from $4.5 billion).
Rising non-performing assets (NPAs), overleveraged large companies and the general unwillingness of banks to lend money has meant small businesses are now finding it next to impossible to raise money. As loan portfolios sour, banks do not want to take the risk of lending to an SME.
Coupled with that is the fact that a large number of small businesses have no access to formal sources of finance, are under banked or have little or no credit history. For these businesses, there is no chance of getting a bank loan. It is with this understanding that a troika of entrepreneurs banded together to start Loan Frame.