India lender scores new funding after gold-backed loans take off

  • Business
  • Wednesday, 26 Feb 2020

BANGALORE: Rupeek Fintech Pvt, an online lender that dispenses loans against gold jewellery and heirlooms, has raised US$60mil from investors including GGV Capital after demonstrating sharp growth in recent months.

Tanglin Venture Partners, Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal’s BTB Ventures and Korea’s KB Investment Co were among those that joined its latest financing round, the company said in a statement. The funding valued the Bangalore-based startup at more than US$300mil, a person familiar with the transaction said. Rupeek itself did not disclose the valuation. Rupeek, which dispatches appraisers to prospective borrowers’ doorsteps to assess and pick up jewellery, is finding favour with Indians ashamed of being seen pawning family heirlooms. It disbursed US$16mil of loans in September and is currently at a monthly pace of US$28mil, said Sumit Maniyar, founder and chief executive officer. That’s up from a mere US$1.5mil in January of last year, he said.

“More and more first-time gold borrowers are coming on board. We give Indians a far more discreet option compared with pledging family jewels with the neighborhood pawnbroker, ” Maniyar said in a telephone interview.

Rupeek now offers its service in 10 Indian cities. Indians hoard more of the precious yellow metal than citizens of any other country – some 25,000 tons of stockpiles worth about US$1 trillion – in their homes and vaults. The startup began dispensing gold-backed loans in 2016 and was funded by Silicon Valley venture capital firms Sequoia Capital and Accel from its early stages. — Bloomberg

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