Essel Group unit invests in online lending startup Qbera
Photo Credit: Shah Junaid/VCCircle

Qbera, an online platform that makes unsecured personal loans, has raised Rs 21 crore ($3 million) from a unit of business conglomerate Essel Group.

The Bengaluru-based company secured the funding from E-City Ventures, the cinema exhibition and retail real estate arm of Essel, it said in a statement.

Qbera is at least the second fintech startup E-City has backed. Last year, E-City had invested in KrazyBee, a financing platform for college students which is operated by Bengaluru-based Finnovation Tech Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

“This investment shall be a stepping stone for the formation of E-City’s financial services platform, which it intends to build in coming years,” said Atul Goel, managing director at E-City Ventures.

Qbera will use the capital mainly to ramp up its technology and analytics capabilities, besides expanding its team across functions and increasing its geographical footprint.

Qbera claims to have processed more than 2 lakh applications and disbursed Rs 50 crore in loans. It aims to extend loans worth Rs 400 crore by the end of 2019-20.

Bengaluru-based CreedCap Asia Advisors acted as the financial adviser to Qbera for the transaction.

Qbera, owned and operated by Ant Creditex Technologies Pvt. Ltd, offers loans ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 25 lakh to salaried consumers in Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune and Delhi.

Qbera was founded by chief executive Aditya Kumar and risk head Anubhav Jain. Before founding Qbera, Kumar was the co-founder of an International Baccalaureate World School. He holds an economics degree from University of Warwick and a master’s degree from Cass Business School London. 

Jain has co-founded two startups in the banking analytics and ed-tech domains: Bainary Labs and StudyBud. Jain, who also co-founded OurOwnBook, is an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Management, Indore.

Qbera offers loans for travel, medical purposes, education, vehicle purchase, weddings, refinancing debt and more.

Last October, Qbera had partnered online automobile marketplace Droom to enable loans for vehicle purchases on the latter’s platform. Personal loans for vehicle purchase account for about 8% of Qbera’s loan book.

Fintech deals

The fintech segment has caught the fancy of investors over the past couple of years, given its high scope for disruption and the government’s push to go digital.

In 2017, funding in India's fintech sector jumped to $1.84 billion from $447 million in 2016, according to VCCEdge, the data research platform of News Corp VCCircle. 

There has been a string of deals this year as well, with at least seven fintech ventures receiving funds in June alone.

Leading the pack was ETechAces Marketing & Consulting Pvt. Ltd, the operator of online insurance selling platform PolicyBazaar.com and lending marketplace PaisaBazaar.com, which raised $200 million (Rs 1,360 crore) in a round led by SoftBank Vision Fund at a valuation of more than $1 billion.

Other fintech startups that raised money in the same month include remittance service firm Eko India Financial Services Pvt. Ltd, investment app Sqrrl, trade financing firm Drip Capital, digital lending platform SMEcorner, supply chain financing startup CredAble and mass market mutual fund investment platform Nivesh.com. 

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