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BCCL invests in online lending firm FinReq
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Media conglomerate Bennett, Coleman and Company Ltd (BCCL) has acquired a stake in a Mumbai-based online lending firm FinReq, a company statement said.

The company declined to divulge the amount raised.

FinReq will use the funds for expansion, marketing and tie-ups, Bhavik Mehta, founder and director of the lending portal, told VCCircle. He also said that the company soon plans to raise funds in another round.

“The Brand Capital model is a very innovative way of funding for growing companies like ours and by having BCCL as an investor, we get tremendous benefits. With this association, we will now focus on enhancing the deal flow with better brand recognition and market awareness in India,” said Bhavik.

Run by BBM Profin Advisors Pvt. Ltd, FinReq was founded in2011 by Mehta and Bipin Mehta. Bhavik is a chartered accountant who has previously worked at professional services firm Deloitte and tax and accounting advisory firm BDO, and Bipin is a former banker with 45 years of experience in finance and banking.

The lending firm ran its operations offline since its inception in 2011 and only went live online on 4 January 2018.

FinReq deals in end-to-end loan products for businesses and retail customers. The company claims to have a unique algorithm, analytics and matchmaking feature which connects the right borrowers with the right lenders. It says up to Rs 300 crore of loans can be processed on its platform.

The company has tie-ups with more than 50 lenders in the country. Borrowers can upload their proposals and attachments, and get their loans processed with the help of certified consultants.

BCCL, which publishes The Times of India and The Economic Times newspapers and operates television channels as well as a host of websites, strikes ad-for-equity deals where it picks up a stake in companies in lieu of advertisements.

BCCL makes its ad-for-equity investments mainly through its unit Brand Capital. Another BCCL unit that makes investments is Times Internet Ltd, which acquires stakes in tech firms in media and entertainment. A VCCircle analysis in November 2017 showed that BCCL, along with Brand Capital and Times Internet, is one of the most prolific private equity and venture capital-style investors in India.

In December 2017, BCCL invested in online home decor startup Livspace in a deal valued at Rs 11.05 crore.

In the same month, it invested in luxury hotel aggregation startup icanstay.com in a deal worth Rs 12 crore ($1.8 million).

In November 2017, it invested Rs. 1.65 crore ($255,613) in Bengaluru-based food-tech startup FreshMenu.

In August 2017, it invested an undisclosed amount in sports content app Sports Flashes.

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