It is small wonder that Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) consist the backbone of Indian economy. Unfortunately, less than 10 per cent of Indian MSMEs are institutionally financed in a market with over 3.6 crore such enterprises.
Aiming to fill the gap in this crucial area, Shailesh Jacob founded Loan Frame, a lending marketplace. It helps borrowers access right kind of credit, the right way and in the minimum possible time. Currently, it has 50 loan products available.
Loan Frame started in 2015. In this short span of time, we have been able to win the trust of small business borrowers and lenders across the country who realise the value addition offered by our technology, credit assessment and lender match algorithms. We work with business owners to meet their capital needs,
says Shailesh Jacob, CEO of Loan Frame.
Loan Frame’s first break came when it raised $2.25 million (around ~15 crore) recently from a group led by venture capital investors Parag Saxena, co-founder of Vedanta Capital and William Campbell, former chairman of Visa International. Explaining the idea behind the startup, Shailesh says,
Our value proposition is simple – banks may not always be the best place to get a loan. There was a definite need to create a system that kept the capital finance needs of SME borrowers at the centre. The push towards digitisation came at the right time as it helped us devise tools that could not only assist in reaching out to business owners across the country but also help us access information that could assess repayment ability of borrowers transparently and quickly.
The journey as an entrepreneur is not easy. Think really hard about why you want to be an entrepreneur. Despite sound ideas, more than 90 per cent of startups fail. You will need to have a business model that focuses on profits without significant upfront cash burn, which is not an easy combination.
Finally, it’s too easy to be enamoured by stories around funding rounds, sky-high valuations and financing, but one needs to be pragmatic on this journey, as those stories are few and far,
Jacob advises wannabe entrepreneurs.
On future goals, Shailesh says the company intends to expand to tier III cities in the next 12-18 months. Rishi Arya, CFO and Akshun Gulati, Head of Corporate Development are the other key people in the firm.
The article was authored by Pramod Thomas for New India Express on March 2, 2017.