Ratan Tata’s Avanti Finance Raises $24 Mn To Scale Customer Base

Bengaluru-based non-banking financial company (NBFC) Avanti Finance has reportedly raised $24 Mn from Rabo Partnerships and IDH Farmfit Fund, among others.

Existing investors Oikocredit and Nandan Nilekani’s family office NRJN Trust also invested in the funding round, ET reported.

The funding is in line with Rabo Partnerships’ focus on providing data-driven finance solutions to smallholder farmers through local cooperatives and service providers.

Rahul Gupta, CEO of Avanti Finance, said, “This investment will support ongoing investments in our deep tech platform to develop fit-for-purpose hyperlocal credit products, automated data and social signals driven underwriting for data-dark customers, amplify our partnership network and accelerate co-lending programmes.”

The CEO added that Avanti Finance has served 275K households and disbursed over INR 1,300 Cr. “We are now ready to take the leap towards 1.5 Mn served households with a targeted AUM of over INR 2,500 Cr in the next 24 months,” he added.

Marianne Schoemaker, CEO of Rabo Partnerships, Rabobank, was cited as saying that due to a large number of farmers, the digital infrastructure and the ICT talent available, India was the ideal place to test and scale innovative solutions for food transition.

“This investment supports our strategy of promoting data-driven finance solutions through local cooperatives and service providers, which is close to our roots as a cooperative bank,” Schoemaker added.

Adding to the conversation, IDH Farmfit Fund investment director Miguel Tamayo Maertens was cited as saying that the investment supports the fund’s strategy to invest in innovative and impactful solutions that are enabling access to finance and connected services to smallholder farmers to improve livelihoods.

Set up in 2016 by former chairman of Tata Sons Ratan Tata, Infosys cofounder Nandan Nilekani and economist Vijay Kelkar, Avanti Finance has over 180 customised loan products to cater to different types of livelihood streams and income flows.

Avanti Finance has 75 partners, including social enterprises, financial institutions, business correspondents, agritech players and Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) covering 24 states and about 300 districts in India.

It partnered with agritech major Ninjacart last April to launch credit products focused on the agritech value chain.

Lendingtech in India has had a rough time of late, as earlier this year, the government blocked tens of lending apps in a crackdown on apps with connections to China-based entities. However, many Indian apps also came into the line of fire, with many Indian lending apps being blocked.

Recent funding and M&A activity in the space include SarvaGram’s $35 Mn fundraise in January, Yellow Metal Bags securing funding in March, BharatPe picking up a majority stake in Trillion Loans, Lendingkart acquiring Upwards and LoanTap acquiring Unofin.

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