- AssurekitFinancial Services
Assurekit is building a unified insurance infrastructure gateway that seeks to simplify insurance distribution in India by building a network that enables businesses across the ecosystem to create, sell, and manage insurance in a plug-and-play fashion.
Assurekit’s first offering – AssureDash – is a full-stack technology solution that aims to digitize the long tail of agent-assisted legacy (offline) insurance distributors that account for the lion’s share of insurance products sold in India. The platform provides an integrated interface that facilitates these brokerages to manage their nexus of insurance providers and products. It ultimately empowers their agents to offer an online-first customer experience.
Assurekit’s second product – AssureGate – leverages the embedded insurance model to offer businesses a check-out stack that allows them to start selling insurance as a value-added offering directly to their customers. Powered by ready-made integrations with insurance providers, Assurekit’s platform enables businesses to sell insurance without the hassle of investing in and developing their own insurance infrastructure.
Our conviction in the Company primarily rests in the massive growth potential of the relatively underpenetrated insurance sector in India and the founder’s intimate knowledge of insurance that puts him in good stead to realize the company’s lofty ambition of modernizing distribution channels so that insurance may become the go-to risk protection tool for every individual.
- dRiskFinancial Services
dRisk is an early-stage venture dedicated to building a ‘risk-free’ investing ecosystem and arming retail investors with the power of hedging by simplifying options to cover their trades.
Over the past two years, there has been an unprecedented influx of retail investors in India’s capital markets and a concomitant explosion of interest in riskier assets (e.g., cryptocurrencies and NFTs). While these newly minted retail traders seek education on downside risk protection, the sheer number and complexity of strategies available to trade options necessitate an in-depth knowledge of finance. Novice traders are, therefore, extremely unlikely to effectively deploy options as a risk rationalization tool.
dRisk plans to leverage this opportunity by developing an easy-to-use de-risking solution that enables users to buy a cover for their trade, offering 100% coverage of their losses. As a platform that abstracts away from the complexity of options to democratize hedging for retail traders in the form of a simple trade cover, dRisk is well-positioned to successfully navigate the boom in India’s retail investing landscape.
- FingoFinancial Services
Fingo, a California-based company, sought to build an AI-powered personal financial management tool focused on helping millennials and GenZ better understand, manage, and gain actionable insights on their personal transactional and financial data. In this pursuit, they launched Meemo, an AI-driven social finance app that lets users receive personal rewards based on recent activity and transfer money to friends.
Saama’s investment was based on our conviction in a top-tier ex-Google, ex-Snap engineering team with innovative product ideas in the social finance space. Coinbase acquihired the Company in 2021.Founder(s) - Wisam Dakka, André Madeira
Legal Name - Fingo Inc
Founded Year - 2019
Investment Year - 2019
- FisdomFinancial Services
Personal finance and wealth advisory platform, Fisdom democratizes access to traditional financial systems for India’s largely underbanked but rapidly growing population. The Company offers a simple app enabling first-time market participants to make intelligent investments in savings and capital-market products (e.g., mutual funds and stocks) along with value-added services (e.g., tax filing).
Recently, with Indians becoming comfortable with investing in assets other than real estate and gold, India has been witnessing unprecedented financialization of household savings. The benefits of this, however, have accrued only to the top of India’s income distribution.
Recognizing this, Saama bought into Fisdom’s vision of opening up the benefits of financialization to folks who don’t only bank with top-tier public and private financial institutions. Moreover, with deep experience across various facets of finance – from venture capital and private equity to investment banking and wealth management – Fisdom’s founding team exhibited the proper context and strategic access to rapidly deploy and scale this business.
Today, Fisdom provides investors access to a multitude of products – including equities, derivatives, IPOs, FPOs, buybacks, sovereign gold bonds, NCDs, currencies, ETFs, etc. The Company has partnered with several banks (e.g., Indian Bank and Uco Bank) and digital partners (e.g., Moneycontrol and Google Pay) to offer financial products to their customers.
- LendingkartFinancial Services
Fintech company Lendingkart has developed an algorithm-based online real-time technology platform that can recommend a credit underwriting decision. The Company uses this platform to disburse small ticket size, unsecured, short-term business loans to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. In addition, the Company’s platform is also leveraged by many of India’s largest banks to gain exposure to priority sector lending, a key focus of the RBI.
Facing a credit gap of ~$380 billion, the Indian MSME sector is severely underbanked. This substantial, underserved population of potential borrowers does not lend itself easily to fit the existing credit assessment and loan disbursement system.
To overcome this structural issue, Lendingkart has developed technology tools based on Big data analysis – that analyze thousands of data points from various data sources – to assess small businesses’ creditworthiness rapidly and accurately.
Our belief in the need to transform small business lending, coupled with the founder’s deep domain experience in the banking sector, propelled us to become an early backer of the Company.
- MyShubhLifeFinancial Services
MyShubhLife (formerly Shubh Loans) is a full-stack financial services provider for India’s underbanked population, offering a digital lending and savings platform for financial inclusion. The Company has developed unique data science models – based on alternative data and real-time analytics – to democratize credit for millions of borrowers from the ‘Next Half Billion’ segment, who are currently excluded from the formal credit system.
MyShubhLife has built partnerships with some of the leading lending organizations in India and also holds its own non-banking financial company (NBFC) license. Through its ‘Shubh Saathi’ membership program, the Company serves corporate partner firms’ employees alongside providing customized employee benefits programs, tax filing, and micro-investing solutions for mutual funds and gold.
- One97 Communications / PaytmFinancial Services
One97 Communications is the parent entity of India’s leading mobile payments and financial services company, Paytm. One97 delivers mobile content and commerce services to millions of mobile consumers, starting as a mobile value-added services (VAS) company. Paytm was launched in 2009 as a digital payment platform to facilitate cashless payments. Through its network of subsidiaries and businesses, the company offers a range of digital payment and financial services to consumers and merchants in India and mobile advertising, marketing, and payments for merchants.
We invested primarily out of immense conviction in Vijay Shekhar Sharma, one of the most mercurial founders we had encountered, in whom we clearly saw the vision to build something significant, something game-changing. Vijay understood the three pillars of finance, mobile, and technology. His journey of pivoting and evolving Paytm from a mobile recharge voucher business into the flagbearer of India’s Fintech revolution is truly remarkable, with Paytm filing its IPO in 2021, then the largest IPO in India’s history.
Today, Paytm is one of India’s most symbolic brands and has been a true socioeconomic equalizer, enabling and empowering all strata of society. We co-led the company’s first institutional round and were privileged to have a front-row seat to one of the most remarkable startup stories of all time, watching the twists and turns of the consumer internet business, the post-demonetization boom of the cashless economy, and the unmistakable phrase in the minds of every Indian shopping online – “Paytm Karo.” After a successful early exit to Alibaba, Saama’s founder Ash Lilani was later invited to join the Board of Directors as an Independent Director prior to the company’s IPO.
- Prizm Payment ServicesFinancial Services
Prizm Payments is a leading provider of payment services using ATMs and POS systems to banks and financial institutions in India. An early play in India’s digital financial services growth story, Prizm built a robust customer base of major financial institutions and know-how of payment systems, cash operations, and management systems for financial institutions. The company was among India’s leading, fastest-growing payment solutions providers and was acquired by Hitachi in 2014.
- Shubham Housing Finance (Shubham)Financial Services
Shubham Housing Finance is a leading provider of housing finance solutions to families with informal incomes. Led by two incredibly passionate, committed, and well-experienced founders, Shubham is a pioneer in transcending document-based underwriting to contemporary credit programs that do not rely on paper-based income proofs to provide housing credit.
Saama felt that Shubham’s business met the confluence of several points in our thesis surrounding the broader financial services sector, not least of which was the founders’ novel idea of expanding credit to borrowers in the lower and informal income segments in urban and semi-urban areas; thereby, opening a largely untapped yet extremely sizeable market opportunity. We subsequently exited this business through a secondary sale.
- SKS Microfinance / BFILFinancial Services
Bharat Financial Inclusion Limited (BFIL), formerly SKS Microfinance, is a non-banking finance company (NBFC) licensed by the Reserve Bank of India. Founded in 1997 by Vikram Akula, the company’s mission is to provide financial services to the poor under the premise that financial assistance to poor borrowers helps to alleviate poverty. Using a commission-based model to encourage loans, SKS formed a network of loan marketers across villages in Andhra Pradesh and eventually across 11 states in India. The platform offers life assurance and a variety of financial loans, including income generation loans, mid-term loans, long-term loans, loans secured on gold, and loans for the purchase of products like cooking stoves, solar lights, water purifiers, mobile phones, bicycles, and sewing machines.
SKS was India’s first large-scale microfinance play, leveraging a massive opportunity to provide financing to the underserved as a for-profit business that created a lasting impact at scale. Led by a charismatic founder, the company garnered rapid scale pan-India and, in 2010, debuted on the Bombay Stock Exchange with an IPO that was oversubscribed 14 times.
- Vistaar Financial ServicesFinancial Services
Vistaar Financial Services is a leading provider of business loans for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in India. With a vision to support independent small businesses and create new economic opportunities through credit provisioning for deserving microentrepreneurs, the company makes financing facilities available at a reasonable cost, delivered efficiently and transparently. Vistaar taps into the immense market potential of micro-enterprises such as dairy, power loom, handloom, home-based industries, handicrafts, etc., and provides customized products aligned with the specific needs of smaller enterprise owners based on four key dimensions – loan size, repayment frequency, tenor, and security.
Vistaar was one of our first true seed bets as part of our deep belief in India’s burgeoning financial services ecosystem. We had immense faith in a very comprehensive and well-rounded team and an enormous, untapped market opportunity to serve MSMEs in peri-urban and urban India.